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

Op Ed: It’s Time To Prohibit Self-Bonding By Coal Companies

Caspar Star Tribune: This past month a completely unknown and unproven company called Blackjewel, LLC “bought” two of Wyoming’s oldest and biggest coal mines. More particularly, they were given the mines in exchange for assuming their cleanup risks and some hypothetical future royalties. They acquired the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines near Gillette from […]

January 8, 2018 Read More →

FERC Data Show Coal, Nuclear Capacity Dropping, While Renewables Surge

North American Clean Energy: In the latest issue of its “Energy Infrastructure Update” (with data through November 30, 2017), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) notes that proposed net additions to generating capacity by utility-scale wind and solar could total 115,984 megawatts (MW) by December 2020—effectively doubling their current installed capacity of 115,520 MW. At […]

January 8, 2018 Read More →

Export-Led Coal Uptick Is Not Going To Last

Vox: President Donald Trump came into office making extravagant promises to coal miners. He would put them back to work and get coal-fired power plants humming again. How’s he doing so far? The research outfit Rhodium Group has just released a helpful snapshot, in the form of a research note on U.S. coal’s performance in 2017. […]

January 5, 2018 Read More →

Department of Interior’s Misstatement on Montana Mine Expansion Causes Short-Lived ‘Market Sensation’

Montana Public Radio: We’re getting perspective now on last week’s news that the U.S. Interior Department said it had approved a major coal mine expansion in Montana. It caused the stock of the mining company involved to temporarily spike. Six days later, Interior rescinded its statement, saying no expansion was approved, and the original approval […]

January 4, 2018 Read More →

Influential U.K. Investors Say Renewable Energy Transition Is Well Under Way

Financial Times, op ed by Anton Eser. chief investment officer, and Nick Stansbury, fund manager and commodity specialist,  Legal & General Investment Management: The global energy system is on the cusp of a revolution and investors in the sector risk sleepwalking into a period of momentous change. Most agree that future energy markets are going […]

January 4, 2018 Read More →

Gov. Cuomo Calls For Coal Phase-Out In New York

Utility Dive: New York made waves yesterday when it unveiled a slate of clean energy proposals that sets the highest energy storage mandate in the country. Cuomo wants to commit at least $200 million from the NY Green Bank for storage investments that will help integrate renewable energy.  The plan is to roll out 1,500 […]

January 4, 2018 Read More →

On the Blogs: Wind, Solar Beat Coal On Price In Colorado

Clean Cooperative: Utilities in Colorado are planning to add a lot more renewable energy over the next few years, for a variety of reasons. I’ve looked at a couple of the trends driving this energy transition such as 100% renewable energy commitments from the utilities’ major customers, including towns and cities like Pueblo and Boulder, and major companies like […]

January 4, 2018 Read More →

Cold Snap Leads to Hot Debates Over Bailouts for Coal and Nuclear

Bloomberg: Just about the only thing heating up in the eastern half of the U.S. right now is the debate over what power source should be trusted to keep homes warm and the lights on. There are 99 nuclear generating units in the U.S. and every one of them is currently operating — “an incredible […]

January 3, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Update: Financial Facts Don’t Support Coal Industry’s Claims of 2017 Recovery

Failed Deals, Financial Losses, and Cancelled Leases Contradict the Rosy Picture Offered by Industry Executives

As 2017 ended, coal industry leaders made a number of upbeat statements to the press and investors, citing what they saw as good news: regulatory rollbacks by the Trump administration, promises of future federal subsidies, improved profits, an increase in coal exports and metallurgical sales, a few loan closings, and a late year stock price […]

January 2, 2018 Read More →

2017: Long-Term Prospects for U.S. Coal Have Not Changed Much

  SNL: The past several months, for the coal sector, have largely been about operational and financial restructuring as it adapts to new market conditions. Several large companies that had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy completed the process in the first half of 2017 or earlier. “2017 was really the year where the industry found […]

December 22, 2017 Read More →