US Coal Markets

IEEFA Research

IEEFA: Gas power plants assuming a constant capacity factor are being financially overvalued

IEEFA: Gas power plants assuming a constant capacity factor are being financially overvalued

Investors beware, capacity factor trends and LCOE analysis show gas-fired power plants likely to be stranded assets into the future

24 June 2021 (IEEFA Australia): The Australian government may be relying on inaccurate financial assumptions for its gas-fired recovery as most gas- and coal-fired power plants in Australia, the UK, the U.S. and China are being operated less and less – what’s called a declining capacity factor, finds a new report by the Institute for […]

IEEFA U.S.: Investors hesitate to fund San Juan Generating Station CCS retrofit

IEEFA U.S.: Investors hesitate to fund San Juan Generating Station CCS retrofit

Enchant Energy’s carbon capture project is significantly behind schedule as it struggles to secure investors

May 27, 2021 (IEEFA) – Enchant Energy and the City of Farmington have failed to convince potential investors that retrofitting New Mexico’s San Juan Generating Station for carbon capture is financially viable, according to a report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).  The project, which has yet to secure the funds […]

IEEFA: Carbon capture goals miss the mark at Boundary Dam 3 coal plant

IEEFA: Carbon capture goals miss the mark at Boundary Dam 3 coal plant

Carbon capture at SaskPower’s Boundary Dam 3 facility falls far short of projections

April 20, 2021 (IEEFA) — An announcement by a Canadian power company that it’s met carbon capture goals shouldn’t be taken at face value, according to a briefing note released today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. SaskPower, the operator of the Boundary Dam 3 coal plant, said March 31 that its […]

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

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.: Wind surpassed coal as No. 1 fuel source in 2020 for Southwest Power Pool

IEEFA U.S.: Wind surpassed coal as No. 1 fuel source in 2020 for Southwest Power Pool

Wind energy growth due to geography, design factors, and new installations

February 11, 2021 (IEEFA) — Wind surpassed coal as the primary power generation source last year for the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), an independent grid operator that provides electricity for a vast territory stretching from the Texas Panhandle to the Canadian border. An analysis by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) found […]

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 U.S.: Colorado electric wholesaler is alienating cost-conscious co-ops with its fossil commitments

IEEFA U.S.: Colorado electric wholesaler is alienating cost-conscious co-ops with its fossil commitments

Tri-State currently plans using coal through 2050 and expanding into gas; projected rate increases of 55% by 2050

Nov. 17, 2020 (IEEFA) — One of the biggest power suppliers to rural electric co-ops in the U.S. is putting its business model at risk as members clamor for better access to renewable energy, more affordable rates, and more say in how they buy or produce power, concludes a report released today by the Institute […]

and November 17, 2020 Read More →
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: New Mexico’s biggest utility moves forcefully toward solar

IEEFA: New Mexico’s biggest utility moves forcefully toward solar

Four projects totaling 950 megawatts will replace San Juan Generating Station; likelihood of coal plant carbon-capture retrofit further diminished

October 12, 2020 (IEEFA) — An aggressive expansion into utility-scale solar by Public Service Company of New Mexico will replace all of the power PNM will lose when the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station (SJGS) closes in June 2022, concludes a research brief published today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. PNM’s […]

and October 12, 2020 Read More →
IEEFA U.S.: Investors in gas-fired projects in largest regional power system face substantial risks

IEEFA U.S.: Investors in gas-fired projects in largest regional power system face substantial risks

Eleven PJM projects under development may fail to prove financially viable

October 5, 2020 (IEEFA) — The landscape for developers of natural gas-fired power plants in the nation’s largest regional power system has shifted dramatically over the last decade, according to a joint study by the Applied Economics Clinic and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. The Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland (PJM) system coordinates the flow […]

More News and Commentary

IEEFA: Wyoming’s tough lesson: economic reality can’t be legislated away

IEEFA: Wyoming’s tough lesson: economic reality can’t be legislated away

Black Hills integrated resource plan shows futility of state’s pro-coal legislation

Wyoming politicians have worked feverishly over the last couple of years to protect the state’s struggling coal industry, but economic reality can’t be legislated away. That simple fact is readily apparent in the integrated resource plan (IRP) filed last month by Black Hills Corporation, which owns two small investor-owned utilities that do business in the […]

IEEFA: Navajo Nation, Hopi tribe advocates push for fair energy transition outcome in Arizona

IEEFA: Navajo Nation, Hopi tribe advocates push for fair energy transition outcome in Arizona

Decades of coal mining spur Navajo and Hopi efforts to urge federal intervention for environmental justice

As the energy transition gains momentum around the globe, the IEEFA documentary, “Local Leadership, Global Change: Navajo Nation & Hopi Tribe” focuses on how indigenous-led organizations are raising awareness of the need to shift away from a fossil fuel-based economy. The documentary centers on the Navajo and Hopi tribal members living on reservation lands in […]

July 22, 2021 Read More →
IEEFA U.S.: Arizona should move quickly to approve precedent-setting proposal for coal community transition

IEEFA U.S.: Arizona should move quickly to approve precedent-setting proposal for coal community transition

Utility plan would provide significant benefits for Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe

A coal community transition funding proposal pending before the Arizona Corporation Commission would provide much-needed financial support for the Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe and other communities affected by the shift from coal to cleaner generation sources. The commission, which regulates electric utilities, should move quickly to approve it, especially given that two years already have […]

Vistra plans to shutter 1.3GW coal-fired Ohio plant five years early

S&P Global Platts ($): Vistra on July 19 said it would close its 1.3-GW Zimmer coal-fired power plant in Ohio on May 31, 2022, five years earlier than previously announced, after the plant failed to clear the PJM capacity market. “The Zimmer coal-fueled power plant has recently struggled economically due to its configuration, costs, and […]

July 20, 2021 Read More →

AEP loses bid to keep 50-year-old coal-fired plant operating until 2040

Charleston Gazette-Mail: Kentucky state utility regulators have dealt a blow to plans to keep a Marshall County coal-fired generating plant operating until its planned retirement date of 2040. The Kentucky Public Service Commission issued an order Thursday rejecting Kentucky Power’s request for a certificate to implement and recover costs for federally required environmental upgrades at […]

July 16, 2021 Read More →

U.S. coal production last year slid to lowest level since 1965

Reuters: The Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday said U.S. coal production fell in 2020 to its lowest level since 1965 due to low global demand in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The federal agency said in a report that U.S. coal production totaled 535 million short tons (MMst) in 2020, a 24% decrease […]

July 15, 2021 Read More →
IEEFA U.S.: Surge of coal-fired generation retirements looking like a reverse S-curve
and

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 […]

PJM, nation’s largest grid operator, pushes rules to encourage renewable projects

E&E News ($): The operator of the bulk power grid across parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest is proposing to revamp controversial market rules — a change that could empower states to reshape energy policies to address climate goals. The updated rules by PJM Interconnection LLC were approved by the grid operator’s board yesterday and […]

July 12, 2021 Read More →

Large-scale solar capacity growth expected to top wind in 2022 for first time

E&E News ($): Growth in large-scale solar capacity is expected to exceed wind growth next year for the first time, according to a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In its July short-term outlook released yesterday, EIA projected that 17 gigawatts of solar generating capacity will be added to the grid in 2022. […]

July 8, 2021 Read More →

Abbott orders Texas PUC to double down on natural gas, coal

Houston Chronicle: Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday ordered the Public Utility Commission of Texas to make substantial changes in an effort to prevent power outages in the future. Among the orders, Abbott asked the agency to: create more incentives within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to develop and maintain sources of power such as […]

July 7, 2021 Read More →