December 19, 2018 Read More →

‘Very little upside’ for coal, says Rhodium Group’s Larsen

Greentech Media:

It’s been a year of ups and downs for the coal industry. Even while the White House considered different ways to extend a lifeline for coal plants and proposed a replacement for the Clean Power Plan that may soften emissions regulations, many generators still faced a difficult market.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected this month that 2018 will end with 14 gigawatts of coal retirements, second to only 2015. Earlier in the year, a report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis suggested retirements would even surpass 2015, at 15.4 gigawatts.

EIA analysts also expect coal consumption in 2018 to fall to its lowest level since 1979.

John Larsen, head of U.S. power sector and energy systems research at the Rhodium Group, said the year “has not been the worst-case scenario for coal,” but he added that more problems are undoubtedly on the way. 

Coal is still losing ground to natural gas and renewables. In its lowest closure scenario, Rhodium Group forecasts that 71 gigawatts of coal will shut down by 2030. In the most aggressive scenario, 124 gigawatts of coal go offline.

“Looking to the medium term out over the 2020s, we…don’t see anything fundamentally changing for coal,” said Larsen. “There’s very little upside, let’s put it that way.”

More: 2018: A year in coal

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