US Coal Markets

IEEFA Research

IEEFA Texas: Latest U.S. Coal Plant Shutdown Stems From a Saga in Which Investors Failed to See Change Coming

IEEFA Texas: Latest U.S. Coal Plant Shutdown Stems From a Saga in Which Investors Failed to See Change Coming

Markets Rendered a Harsh Judgment on a Bad Private-Equity Deal, Cheap Natural Gas, and the Rise of Wind-Powered Electricity

[First of two parts.] Last week Luminant and its new parent company, Vistra, announced the imminent closure of the 1,800-megawatts Monticello Power Plant in North Texas, near the Arkansas and Oklahoma state lines. It’s been a long time coming. The plant has operated at a loss for years, having failed to compete with low natural […]

IEEFA Report: Kayenta Mine Is Unlikely to Find  New Customers Once Navajo Generating Station Closes

IEEFA Report: Kayenta Mine Is Unlikely to Find New Customers Once Navajo Generating Station Closes

A ‘Buyer Beware’ on Peabody Energy Property; Regional Demand for Coal Is in Decline; Export-Market Possibilities Are Bleak; Previous Recent Mine Deals Have Failed

June 29, 2017 (IEEFA.org) — The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) published a report today concluding that Peabody Energy’s Kayenta mine in northeast Arizona is not likely to find new customers or markets once its sole customer, Navajo Generating Station, closes. The Navajo Nation Council voted this week to approve a deal with […]

IEEFA Report: ‘Payment for a Job Well Done,’ a Transition Plan in Anticipation of Shutdowns of Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta Mine

IEEFA Report: ‘Payment for a Job Well Done,’ a Transition Plan in Anticipation of Shutdowns of Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta Mine

Initiative to Limit Job Losses and Community Disruption; Investing in Economic Growth Rather Than Subsidizing Northern Arizona's Failing Coal Industry

June 6, 2017 (IEEFA.org) – The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) today published a report outlining an economic- growth strategy for a region that stands to be set back severely by the closure of the Navajo Generating Station and the Kayenta coal mine. The proposal—“A Transition Plan for Communities Affected by the […]

IEEFA Research Brief: Coal in Decline, Blow by Blow

IEEFA Research Brief: Coal in Decline, Blow by Blow

Plant Closings and the Likely Effects on Specific Companies and Mines

We’ve published a research brief today that presents an expansive snapshot of a moving target: the decline in U.S. coal-fired generation nationally. As global energy markets continue to undergo rapid transformation, change has swept the U.S. as well. Our brief—“U.S. Coal Phase-out, Blow by Blow: Plant Closings and the Likely Corresponding Effect on Specific Companies […]

April 21, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA U.S. Coal Outlook 2017: Short-Term Gains Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses in Fundamentals

IEEFA U.S. Coal Outlook 2017: Short-Term Gains Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses in Fundamentals

Production Declining by as Much as 40 Million Tons; Prices Failing to Benefit Shareholders or Stimulate New Investment; Anemic Exports; Little or No Gain From Regulatory Relief; Increasingly Dim Employment Prospects

We’re out this morning with our annual outlook for U.S. coal markets, and the picture isn’t pretty. We see the potential for some short-lived strength in the current uptick for coal producers but the title of our assessment sums up the larger view: “Short-Term Gains Will Be Muted by Prevailing Weaknesses in Fundamentals.” You can […]

IEEFA Texas: The Beginning of the End for Coal-Fired Electricity Across One of the Biggest Power Markets in the U.S.

IEEFA Texas: The Beginning of the End for Coal-Fired Electricity Across One of the Biggest Power Markets in the U.S.

Report Finds Seven Plants Emblematic of a Fading Industry

We published a research report today describing how the coal-fired electricity industry in Texas is in decline and unlikely to recover in the face of rising competition from other energy sources. Our report—“The Beginning of the End: Fundamental Changes in Energy Markets Are Undermining the Financial Viability of Coal-Fired Power Plants in Texas”—looks specifically at […]

September 12, 2016 Read More →

As Texas Coal-Fired Power Plants Close, Powder River Basin Mines Are Losing Their Largest Customers

Trends Will Force Closures and Complicate Efforts by Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal and Peabody Energy to Work Their Way Out of Bankruptcy

CLEVELAND, Aug. 3, 2016 (IEEFA.org) — The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis today published a report detailing how Powder River Basin coal producers are losing their largest customers as Texas power producers turn increasingly to other sources of energy. The report, “Texas’ Outsize Role in the Decline of the Powder River Basin Coal […]

August 2, 2016 Read More →
The Federal Government’s Coal-Leasing Program Is Broken: Here’s How to Fix It

The Federal Government’s Coal-Leasing Program Is Broken: Here’s How to Fix It

Appoint a Price-Setting Commission; Ban Exports; Cancel Some Leases; Eliminate Self-Bonding; Mandate Set-Asides for Mine Clean-up and Miner Pensions; Require Twice-a-Year Audits; Assume Smaller Markets

It’s time for the U.S. to modernize how it manages its publicly owned coal reserves. That’s the essence of comments we’ve filed today with the Department of the Interior as it begins a review of its federal coal-leasing program in the Powder River Basin, a program that has been mismanaged for years at taxpayer expense […]

For U.S. Coal, Market Realities Grow Increasingly Harsh

For U.S. Coal, Market Realities Grow Increasingly Harsh

Debt Hurdles, Reclamation and Pension Challenges, Abandonment by Hedge Funds

We distributed a briefing note this week that delves into some of the many pressing difficulties confronting U.S. coal producers. In the note (“Struggling U.S. Coal Companies Face Debt Hurdles, Complications From Reclamation and Pension Obligations, Pressure from Hedge Funds”) we talk about how the cumulative impacts of the industry’s many mounting liabilities—reclamation costs, pension […]

More News and Commentary

U.S. Energy Secretary Seems to Have Learned Nothing From His Texas Electricity Failures

Texas Observer: In late 2005, then-Governor Rick Perry was in the middle of a protracted battle with a coalition of environmentalists, renewable energy advocates, mayors and local leaders. TXU, the state’s largest utility, had announced that it wanted to build 11 new coal plants. At the time, natural gas and coal made up about 46 […]

October 20, 2017 Read More →

U.S. Plan to Aid Coal and Nuclear Plants Gets a Bipartisan Thumbs Down From Past Regulators

Washington Post; Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s bid to change regulations to help coal and nuclear power plants has run into unusually blunt opposition from a group of former regulators from both parties. Eight former members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — including five former chairmen — have filed a letter with the commission opposing […]

October 20, 2017 Read More →

California and New Mexico AGs Sue to Restore Closure of Loophole on Coal Taken Off Federal Lands

Law 360: The attorneys general of California and New Mexico have again gone to court to challenge a U.S. Department of the Interior decision to revoke an Obama-era rule tweaking royalty calculations for oil, gas and coal extracted from federal and tribal lands, arguing Tuesday that the regulation was repealed without adequate consideration. California AG […]

October 20, 2017 Read More →

Report: Trump Is Worse for Coal Than Obama Was

Axios: The Brattle Group’s analysis, which was presented to the Energy Bar Association Tuesday, highlights a major tension running through Trump’s pro-fossil fuel initiatives: Helping coal is tougher when you’re supporting natural gas too. What they examined: Brattle forecast the production and employment effect of pro-coal policies, like killing EPA’s big power industry climate rule […]

October 19, 2017 Read More →

On the Blogs: A ‘Rear-Guard’ Action by the White House

Vox: There are still hundreds of plants in operation in the US, producing roughly a third of US power, but one in four of those plants is slated to retire or shift to natural gas, and another 17 percent beyond that are uneconomic, running only by virtue of being shielded from competition. As Department of […]

October 19, 2017 Read More →

Top U.S. Energy Regulator Resists Call to ‘Blow Up’ Electricity Markets With Coal, Nuclear Subsidies

The Hill: FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee, whose agency would be responsible for implementing Perry’s plan, told reporters Friday that he would not put in place a policy stemming from the proposal if it would “blow up” competitive electricity markets or not withstand court challenges. Chatterjee’s comments were the first time he has weighed in on […]

October 16, 2017 Read More →

Coal Industry’s Actions Speak Louder Than Its Marketing

Washington Post: Moves to save this industry have actually exposed its weaknesses — and revealed a trend that coal companies and the Trump administration have not acknowledged publicly: The companies are scaling back, in some cases shedding workers and declining the opportunities the federal government now wants to give them. Despite Trump’s best efforts, the […]

October 16, 2017 Read More →

Little Market Effect Expected in Ohio From Reversal of EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Midwest Energy News: Despite Scott Pruitt’s claim that “the war on coal is over,” clean energy advocates say repeal of the Clean Power Plan is unlikely to bring back coal jobs to Ohio or revitalize the state’s coal-fired power plants. “It doesn’t change the fact that coal-fired power is uneconomic in Ohio right now and […]

October 16, 2017 Read More →

More U.S. Coal Plants Fail Economic Stress Test

SNL: A recent energy analysis determined that more than 20% of the nation’s coal-generating capacity in 2016 is uneconomic and could face retirement or conversion to other energy sources. The Union of Concerned Scientists, a member-funded nonprofit advocacy group that promotes clean energy, said in its report that much of the remaining coal fleet “faces […]

October 16, 2017 Read More →

Editorial: Five Strikes on Coal

New York Times: “Trump Digs Coal” read the signs during the campaign, and Donald Trump promised he would be “an unbelievable positive” for the miners. Now he’s trying to deliver by repealing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan and proposing to subsidize coal-fired power plants. These moves are, in fact, unbelievable: Not only are they a […]

October 16, 2017 Read More →