US Coal Markets

IEEFA Research

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 ( — 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

On the Blogs: Coal-Fired Nostalgia

Union of Concerned Scientists: The Department of Energy released a graphic last week that highlights six facts we may not know about coal, as if cheerleading the coal industry will minimize the fact that coal-fired electricity is the largest source of global greenhouse gas emissions and a significant contributor to air pollution that makes us […]

May 24, 2017 Read More →

Market Trends Driving U.S. Electricity-Generation Shift

Utility Dive: Analysts told us this would happen — the traditional electric utility model would be upended, and utilities would need to adjust their business models to operate in a new energy future. Now, with plummeting prices for renewables and energy storage, the finalization of the nation’s first carbon regulations, and the proliferation of distributed […]

May 19, 2017 Read More →

On the Blogs: A ‘Must-Read’ Article in the Global Financial Press

ThinkProgress: The details of this transition are spelled out in a new, must-read, 4000-word article in the Financial Times, “The Big Green Bang: how renewable energy became unstoppable.” What is most remarkable about the article is that it appears in the Financial Times. The free-market oriented paper is the “most important business read” for the […]

May 19, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA Update: Don Blankenship Is Loving Las Vegas

IEEFA Update: Don Blankenship Is Loving Las Vegas

The $120 Million Coal Executive Who Got 1 Year for His Part in the Deaths of 29 West Virginia Coal Miners Is as Unrepentant as Ever

After being released last week after doing a year of minimum-security time in sunny Southern Arizona and California, Don Blankenship has been agitating nonstop for sympathy. He wants the Supreme Court to overturn his conviction, he wants Donald Trump to do him a solid, he wants everybody to believe that he had nothing to do […]

May 17, 2017 Read More →

Pushback Against ‘Faulty Premise’ of Energy Policy Under Trump

The Hill: Renewable energy groups on Tuesday pushed back against a Department of Energy power sector review that they say threatens wind, solar and other industries. In a letter to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the groups said the agency’s study on the electric grid is “based on a faulty premise” that the growing renewable energy […]

May 17, 2017 Read More →

On the Blogs: How Renewables Are to Coal What Email Was to the Post Office and the Fax Machine

The Conversation: Posing the question whether wind and solar are killing baseload generators, including coal plants, reveals an antiquated mindset about power markets that hasn’t been relevant in many places for at least a decade. It would be similar to asking in the late 1990s whether email was killing fax machines and snail mail. The […]

May 16, 2017 Read More →

Blankenship, Out of Prison, Seeks Exoneration Now

Charleston (W.V.) Gazette: Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship will be asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal of his conviction for conspiring to violate federal mine safety and health standards, his lawyers confirmed Thursday. Blankenship’s defense team filed a short form with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals noting that it […]

May 12, 2017 Read More →

West Virginians Seek to Emerge From Long History as One-Dimensional ‘Coal Colony’

AFP: Despite a recent uptick, few believe in a lasting revival for a sector that is ever more mechanized, requiring fewer workers, and pummeled by competition with cheap, clean natural gas. So how does a small state with few other industries, where the biggest single employer is Wal-Mart, find a path to replace high-paying albeit […]

May 11, 2017 Read More →

Citing Taxpayer and Environmental Impacts, Four States Challenge Trump Retro Policy on Federal Coal Leases

Associated Press: Four U.S. states filed a lawsuit Tuesday over President Donald Trump’s decision to restart the sale of coal leases on federal lands, saying the Obama-era block of the leasing program was reversed without studying what’s best for the environment and for taxpayers. The attorneys general of California, New Mexico, New York and Washington, […]

May 10, 2017 Read More →

North Carolina Coal-Fired Plant Will Close

Rocky Mount (N.C). Telegram: Jason McGovern, a spokesperson for PJM Interconnection, a regional transmission organization that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in several states, including North Carolina, said the 116-megawatt Edgecombe Genco coal-fired power plant on 6358 Old Battleboro Road, will be shutting down. The power plant has been called Edgecombe Genco since 2006, […]

May 9, 2017 Read More →