US Coal Markets

IEEFA Research

IEEFA report: Fund trustees face growing fiduciary pressure to divest from fossil fuels

Oil, gas, and coal industries are seen as ‘increasingly speculative;’ Sector will continue to be weighed down by lackluster rewards and daunting risks; A ‘proper financial response’ is due

July 20, 2018 (IEEFA) — A paper published today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis details the growing rationale for divesting from the fossil fuel industry. The paper—“The Financial Case for Fossil Fuel Divestment”—is aimed primarily at trustees of investment funds that continue to hold stakes in a sector that is freighted […]

IEEFA Update: Push to Keep Navajo Generating Station Alive in Deal With Arizona Water Distributor Is Fraught With Risk

IEEFA Update: Push to Keep Navajo Generating Station Alive in Deal With Arizona Water Distributor Is Fraught With Risk

Research Brief: Regardless of Ownership, Outlook for Southwest U.S. Coal-Fired Electricity Plant Is Bleaker Than Ever

April 11, 2018 (IEEFA) — The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis published a research brief today that finds the financial outlook for coal-fired Navajo Generating Station is bleaker than it was when the plant’s utility owners announced last year it would be retired in 2019. The plant’s owners—Arizona Public Service Company, the Salt River Project, […]

April 11, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA Report: U.S. Coal Market Erosion Continues

IEEFA Report: U.S. Coal Market Erosion Continues

Lower Production and Consumption as Industry Fails to Compete; a Likely Doubling of Plant Retirements; Low Natural Gas Prices Will Persist; Renewables Will Gain; Little Effect Seen from Regulatory Relief

Feb 1, 2018 (IEEFA) — The U.S. coal industry continued to shrink in 2017, and its trend toward long-term structural decline is all but sure to persist, concludes a study published today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. The report—“U.S. Coal: More Market Erosion Is on the Way”—details how competition from cheap […]

February 1, 2018 Read More →
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 →

More News and Commentary

IEEFA update: The U.S. coal industry’s war with itself

Company versus company, and skirmishes between regions

When the current presidential administration took office, one might not have expected it to be the beginning of a new coal war—of company against company, region against region—each seizing the industry mantle, but none representing it as a whole. Industry watchers knew it would try to use the keys to the kingdom provided by its […]

June 29, 2018 Read More →

Even hot summer not likely to help U.S. coal industry

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): Forecasts for a hotter-than-normal summer across the U.S. may somewhat offset lackluster coal demand from domestic power customers. Temperatures across most of the United States are likely to be above-normal for the next few months, according to the National Weather Service outlook for July through September. If so, the hum […]

June 28, 2018 Read More →

EIA: Renewables and Gas Continue to Overtake Coal

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): Natural gas and renewables combined to fuel more than half of U.S. power generation in April. Coal’s share of generation, which saw declines in February and March, dipped to 24%. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest “Electric Power Monthly” released June 25, utility-scale generation net of hydroelectric pumped […]

June 27, 2018 Read More →

Owensboro, Ky., utility to close its aging coal plant

WFPL: Coal-fired power plants in Kentucky continue closing even as the Trump administration works through details on how to bail out the industry. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Monday he wasn’t ready to provide details of the plan, but even if it was implemented tomorrow, that wouldn’t stop Owensboro, Kentucky from shutting down its coal-fired […]

June 27, 2018 Read More →

U.S. coal companies increasingly worried administration policies will hurt exports

Reuters: U.S. coal mining companies are worried President Donald Trump’s intensifying trade dispute with China could hurt their booming export business, one of the ailing sector’s most important lifelines, according to industry players. Beijing this month added coal and other energy products to a list of U.S. goods facing import tariffs in retaliation for Trump […]

June 26, 2018 Read More →

AEP decision another blow for struggling Westmoreland

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): Struggling coal miner Westmoreland Coal Co. disclosed that a major Ohio customer will stop buying its coal at the end of the year. A subsidiary of American Electric Power Co. Inc. declined Westmoreland’s bid to supply coal to units at the generator’s Conesville power plant after the current contract expires […]

June 25, 2018 Read More →
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IEEFA update: Pushback from the big boys against U.S. coal bailout campaign

Core resistance by colossal players across the energy industry

The Trump administration’s scheme to subsidize the coal industry has nothing to do with grid resiliency or energy security—the White House is simply picking a favorite in the heated battle for market share across the U.S. electricity generation sector. The coal industry is losing this battle. Its contribution to the U.S. electricity generation mix dropped […]

Rail executives plan for long-term decline in coal demand

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): Absent orders from the president and his administration or the U.S. Congress, it is unlikely new coal-fired power plants will be built in the United States, a railroad executive said June 13. CSX Corp. is doing “everything we can” to work with coal miners and power plants, the company’s Executive […]

June 15, 2018 Read More →

Charts of the Day: A reversal of historical fortune for coal-fired electricity

Associated Press: Coal’s share of the world’s electricity mix was about 38 percent in 1997, and in 2017 it was about … 38 percent. Fossil fuels overall have actually increased their share, from 63 percent to 65 percent. Not exactly what folks in Paris or (even further back) Kyoto had in mind. When it comes […]

June 14, 2018 Read More →

Michigan utility with 6.7 million customers to exit coal generation by 2040

The Detroit News: Consumers Energy said Wednesday it will stop using coal to generate electricity by 2040. The announcement comes as the utility company files a plan this week with the Michigan Public Service Commission outlining how it will meet that goal. The company said it will increase its use of renewable resources, especially solar, […]

June 14, 2018 Read More →