Author Archive: Seth Feaster

Energy Data Analyst Seth Feaster has 25 years of experience creating visual presentations of complex data at The New York Times and more recently at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He specializes in working with financial and energy data.

IEEFA U.S.: Colorado’s newest coal plant, needing extensive repairs (again), was idle for a year

IEEFA U.S.: Colorado’s newest coal plant, needing extensive repairs (again), was idle for a year

Utility commission launches investigation of Comanche Unit 3 costs; seamless replacement of power adds to case for early closure

Xcel Energy’s troubled Unit 3 at the Comanche Generating Station in Colorado was offline for almost an entire year after being closed for repairs—even as customers started paying the $11.7 million cost of fixing previous problems. The latest in a long saga of failures at Comanche 3 started on Jan. 13, 2020, when it was […]

January 15, 2021 Read More →
IEEFA U.S.: Virginia coal plant’s future isn’t bright: preparation for  transition should commence now

IEEFA U.S.: Virginia coal plant’s future isn’t bright: preparation for transition should commence now

Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center (VCHEC), one of the newest in U.S., risks closure due to market forces

December 16, 2020 (IEEFA)—Retiring the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center (VCHEC) will bring unnecessarily abrupt economic hardship to Wise County if state and local officials do not begin to plan now for a transition, concludes a report published today by the Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis. The 8-year-old coal-fired power plant, owned by […]

IEEFA update: Peabody Energy flirts with bankruptcy—again

IEEFA update: Peabody Energy flirts with bankruptcy—again

Bear market for coal, new financial pressures push world’s largest coal company towards default

Just three-and-a-half years after emerging from its previous bankruptcy, Peabody Energy—the world’s largest private coal miner—admitted to investors on Monday that it could face yet another trip to bankruptcy court in the coming months. Coal bankruptcies in the United States have become increasingly common. Cheap gas and renewable power have steadily replaced coal in the […]

IEEFA update: ExxonMobil’s dismal third quarter

IEEFA update: ExxonMobil’s dismal third quarter

Cash results disappoint, raising questions about dividends

ExxonMobil today posted third quarter cash results that were significantly worse than those of its four peers, Shell, Total, BP and Chevron. These disappointing results challenge the company’s repeated claims that the fundamentals of the oil and gas industry have not changed.  “ExxonMobil needs a business model that manages decline, generates stable profits and contributes […]

IEEFA U.S.: As utility company exits Four Corners Power Plant, NTEC seeks to keep it open

IEEFA U.S.: As utility company exits Four Corners Power Plant, NTEC seeks to keep it open

Avangrid acquisition of PNM signals regional market shift to renewables; coal company in maneuver to stay in business, puts more Navajo Nation finances at risk

In announcing its merger yesterday with renewable energy giant Avangrid, PNM Resources reaffirmed its commitment to end its use of coal, stating that it would continue with the abandonment of the San Juan Generating Station in 2022, and that it was actively working to sell its 13% stake in the Four Corners Power Plant. The […]

and October 22, 2020 Read More →
IEEFA U.S.: Renewables get an early start on beating coal generation

IEEFA U.S.: Renewables get an early start on beating coal generation

Renewable generation has already topped coal on nine days this fall, compared with just five days across the last half of 2019

The market window for coal-fired electricity in the U.S. is closing faster than ever in a shift that is especially clear as autumn sets in. From July through Oct. 5, renewables (utility-scale solar, wind and hydropower) generated more electricity than coal in the U.S. on nine days—easily topping the total of five days recorded over […]

IEEFA: U.S. land agency is behind the times on utility-scale solar buildout rules

Outdated policies ignore the transition underway across the electricity generation industry

The Bureau of Land Management, the single biggest steward of real estate in the U.S., often finds itself in the crossfire of heated arguments over how best to use and/or protect the more than 250 million acres it is responsible for across the American West. To put these vast holdings in context, BLM lands account […]

and September 11, 2020 Read More →
IEEFA U.S.: Georgia solar+hydro electricity output tops in-state coal generation during first half of 2020

IEEFA U.S.: Georgia solar+hydro electricity output tops in-state coal generation during first half of 2020

Bowen and Scherer, the two largest coal-fired power plants in the U.S., lost out to cheaper—and greener—alternatives

Fresh data from the Energy Information Administration points to the monumental nature of the transition under way in the U.S. utility sector and localizes it dramatically in Georgia, where utility-scale solar and hydropower for the first time generated more electricity than coal during the first half of the year.  This is of special note because […]

and September 10, 2020 Read More →
IEEFA U.S.: As oil and gas wane, Texas wind industry ascends

IEEFA U.S.: As oil and gas wane, Texas wind industry ascends

Case study Nolan County: Strengthening jobs, economic development, tax base

August 10, 2020 (IEEFA) — The wind industry in West Texas continues to create jobs, increase local tax revenues and drive economic development in an area known historically for its boom-and-bust oil cycles, concludes a report published today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).  The report—As Oil and Gas Wane, Texas […]

IEEFA U.S.: Peabody’s $1.42 billion write-down concedes coal mines have little value and dim future

IEEFA U.S.: Peabody’s $1.42 billion write-down concedes coal mines have little value and dim future

Trouble at biggest mine in Powder River Basin speaks volumes about state of industry

Peabody Energy, the world’s largest privately owned coal company and the biggest U.S. coal producer, has finally acknowledged a long-apparent reality: Thermal coal mines in the U.S. have little value anymore and not much of a future.  The company said as much earlier this month when it slashed the book value of the largest coal […]

August 6, 2020 Read More →