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.: Surge of coal-fired generation retirements looking like a reverse S-curve

Consumers Energy, TVA among utilities planning full exits from coal

There is an inverse S-curve developing in the U.S. coal generation sector, with announced plant retirements expanding rapidly as utilities and independent power producers adjust to the influx of cleaner and cheaper wind, solar and battery storage resources disrupting the electric system. IEEFA data shows that just since March, the generating capacity of coal plants […]

IEEFA U.S.: The coal-to-renewables transition takes off

Pre-Biden changes underscore coming 10-year wave of coal plant retirements

The traditional S-curve growth exhibited by disruptive technologies, often cited when game-changing consumer devices, such as smartphones, take over markets and rapidly push older products out, is just as valid to describe how wind turbines and solar PV generation are shaking up U.S. power markets. This S-curve is marked by several key phases in the […]

IEEFA webinar: U.S. transition to renewables is likely to accelerate over next two to three years

IEEFA analysts explain why solar, wind and battery storage are poised to push fossil generation off the grid

April 2, 2021 (IEEFA) ⎼ The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis will host a webinar on Thursday, April 8, 2021 to present findings from its recently released U.S. Power Sector Outlook 2021. Authors Dennis Wamsted, Seth Feaster, and David Schlissel will show how lower-cost wind and solar, coupled with battery storage, is rapidly […]

IEEFA U.S.: Energy transition to renewables likely to accelerate over next two to three years

Coal, gas set to become biggest losers as renewable generation climbs quickly

March 31, 2021 (IEEFA) — The speed and scope of the energy transition to renewables will pick up pace over the next two to three years, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis’ U.S. Power Sector Outlook 2021. Solar and battery storage adoption is enjoying almost exponential growth, and wind and solar […]

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

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

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

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

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

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 […]