US Coal Markets

IEEFA Research

IEEFA U.S.: Municipal ratepayers face mounting costs from expensive American Municipal Power projects

Gap between costs from Prairie State, Combined Hydro Project and market prices continues to grow

September 9, 2021 (IEEFA)—Newly available data shows American Municipal Power’s (AMP) Prairie State and Combined Hydro Project have caused costs to continue climbing for municipal ratepayers, according to an analysis by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).  Data covering January 2020 through July 2021 showed that Cleveland Public Power (CPP) and its […]

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 →

More News and Commentary

Illinois Legislature mulls Byron bailout, renewables-friendly measure

E&E News ($): A yearslong drama over the future of Illinois’ energy mix and climate policy may be entering the final act, if not the final scene. Chicago-based Exelon Corp. has set Monday as the day it pulls the plug on the Byron nuclear plant in northern Illinois — one of the nation’s largest — […]

September 7, 2021 Read More →

Colstrip operator Talen falls $4 billion into debt, bonds downgraded

Billings Gazette: Talen Energy, which operates Colstrip Power Plant, is $4 billion in debt and facing negotiations with creditors as its bonds are downgraded to a substantial fundamental credit risk. What the company’s financial troubles mean for its Colstrip future remains to be seen. As the majority of the owners in the southeast Montana power […]

September 3, 2021 Read More →

Duke revises South Carolina plans to emphasize more natural gas

Utility Dive: Duke Energy is eyeing an early retirement of its coal-fired plants by the end of the decade, according to the revised integrated resource plans (IRP) filed with South Carolina regulators Friday for its subsidiaries, Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas. Duke’s revised IRPs also call for adding 3,000 MW of solar energy […]

September 3, 2021 Read More →

U.S. installed record amount of land-based wind capacity in 2020

Bloomberg ($): The U.S. installed a record amount of wind-generating capacity last year, adding nearly 17,000 megawatts of power on land, according to an Energy Department report being released Monday.  Wind energy’s share of total utility-scale generating capacity in the U.S. was only 11% in 2020, behind natural gas at 43% and nuclear and coal […]

August 31, 2021 Read More →

PacifiCorp plans closure of all Wyoming coal plants by 2039

Casper Star Tribune: Unlike Wyoming, PacifiCorp is turning away from fossil fuels. The parent company to Rocky Mountain Power, the state’s biggest electric utility, announced Friday that its biennial Integrated Resource Plan is expected to include substantial investment in renewables — and no new investment in coal or natural gas. The 2021 plan will be […]

August 30, 2021 Read More →

Coal output rose in first half of 2021 but employment continues decline

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): U.S. coal production bounced back in the first half of 2021 from early pandemic lows set in the first half of 2020, but average quarterly employment in the sector has not similarly recovered. Total U.S. coal output dipped substantially in early 2020 as reduced demand drove down energy consumption during […]

August 30, 2021 Read More →

Colorado Springs shuts down one of last urban power plants in U.S.

Colorado Springs Gazette: Colorado Springs’ downtown power plant burned its last lumps of coal Friday, as crews prepare to tear down the long-standing towers that have filled the skyline with steam. Shuttering Martin Drake Power Plant, one of the last urban power plants in the country, will help cut the community’s carbon emissions and potentially […]

August 30, 2021 Read More →

Appeals court ruling raises viability issues for Missouri coal-fired plant

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a judge’s 2019 ruling that ordered Ameren Missouri to install pollution controls at its Rush Island power plant south of Festus, a decision likely to force the St. Louis-based electric utility to rethink its long-term plans or spend hundreds of millions retrofitting a 1970s-era coal […]

August 26, 2021 Read More →

Electricity demand in first half of 2021 outpaced renewables growth

The Washington Post ($): Carbon dioxide emissions from the global electric power sector rebounded in the first half of 2021 to above pre-pandemic levels, according to an analysis, signaling that the world has failed to engineer a “green recovery” and shift decisively away from fossil fuels. As electricity demand jumped from last year’s lows, the […]

August 25, 2021 Read More →

Virginia rejects Appalachian Power bid to extend lives of coal plants

West Virginia Public Broadcasting: The Virginia Corporation Commission on Monday rejected Appalachian Power’s plan to keep the John Amos and Mountaineer power plants in West Virginia operating through 2040. The commission denied the company permission to make wastewater treatment upgrades at the plants and pass the cost on to electric power customers in the state. […]

August 24, 2021 Read More →