US Coal Markets

IEEFA Research

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 […]

IEEFA U.S.: Ratepayers face risks with Project Tundra’s retrofit of aging N.D. coal-fired plant

IEEFA U.S.: Ratepayers face risks with Project Tundra’s retrofit of aging N.D. coal-fired plant

Unproven technology funded by federal tax credits unlikely to pay off

September 22, 2020 (IEEFA) — A plan to retrofit an aging coal-fired plant in North Dakota with unproven carbon capture and storage technology is likely to raise rates for customers who get electricity from the Milton R. Young Unit 2 facility, according to a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis […]

IEEFA U.S.: Long-term contracts with American Municipal Power (AMP) saddle local communities with high prices

Dozens of communities in five states pay far above market price for electricity from Prairie State coal plant and Ohio River hydro projects

September 21, 2020 (IEEFA) — Long-term contracts with American Municipal Power (AMP) have stuck 83 communities in 41 counties across five states with extraordinarily high electricity prices for half a century, according to a briefing note released today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. The largest AMP member, Cleveland Public Power (CPP), […]

More News and Commentary

Coal financing costs have surged in past 10 years—University of Oxford

The Guardian: Coal financing costs have surged over the last decade as investors demand returns four times as high as the payoff required from renewable energy projects to justify the risk of investing in fossil fuels, as the world moves towards cleaner energy sources. A University of Oxford study found that over the same period […]

April 19, 2021 Read More →

Mississippi Power to close last coal plant, three gas-fired facilities by 2027

E&E News ($): Southern Co.’s Mississippi Power subsidiary will close the last of its coal-fired power plants, as well as aging, inefficient natural gas ones, as part of its first-ever comprehensive long-term energy plan released Friday. The move followed a directive from the Mississippi Public Service Commission, which told the electric company to cut 950 […]

April 19, 2021 Read More →
IEEFA U.S.: Colstrip legislation would slam NorthWestern customers with costs topping $1.3 billion over 20 years

IEEFA U.S.: Colstrip legislation would slam NorthWestern customers with costs topping $1.3 billion over 20 years

NorthWestern could charge customers for fictional investments at Colstrip rather than actual costs

April 15, 2021 (IEEFA)—A measure being considered in the Montana Legislature (Senate Bill 379) would grossly and unfairly enrich NorthWestern Energy with the creation of an effective tax on the company’s customers for 20 years or longer—a tax that would be based on a fictional company investment of almost $700 million. Traditionally, consumers pay for […]

Indiana utility Nipsco continues transition from coal with 200MW solar project

ReNews.biz: Capital Dynamics and Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCo), part of NiSource, have signed an agreement to bring 200MW of solar energy to the US state. The build-transfer agreement is for the Elliot Solar project, in Gibson County, which will begin construction in summer 2022 and begin commercial operations in summer 2023. Capital Dynamics […]

April 15, 2021 Read More →

Xcel proposes 460MW, $575 million solar project in Minnesota

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Xcel Energy has unveiled plans for the largest solar-energy plant in Minnesota by far, a $575 million project in Becker adjacent to the company’s Sherco coal-power complex. The Minneapolis-based company said the Sherco project would be among the lowest-cost solar power plants in the state; it’s economics will be enhanced by using […]

April 14, 2021 Read More →
IEEFA: Birchwood coal facility closure/redevelopment highlights transition from coal to renewables

IEEFA: Birchwood coal facility closure/redevelopment highlights transition from coal to renewables

Birchwood plant shifts from coal showcase to solar-plus-storage resource

The Birchwood coal facility in Virginia is emblematic of the rapid transition from coal to renewable energy underway in the U.S. Four years ago, General Electric, which owns half of the 242-megawatt (MW) unit, planned to make the facility a showcase of its digital technologies, promising efficiency improvements, reduced emissions and lower costs. Earlier this […]

April 13, 2021 Read More →

Vistra to close Joppa coal plant in Illinois in 2022, three years ahead of schedule

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): Vistra Corp. and its subsidiary Electric Energy Inc. announced a decision April 6 to move up retirement of the 1,002-MW Joppa power plant in Illinois to occur by Sept. 1, 2022, three years earlier than the previous plan. The revised retirement date is part of an agreement Vistra made to […]

April 7, 2021 Read More →
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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 […]

J-Power to convert Virginia coal plant to solar-plus-storage facility

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($): Tokyo-headquartered Electric Power Development Co. Ltd., through its J-POWER USA Development Co. Ltd. unit, and funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group LLC jointly agreed to convert the 242-MW, coal-fired Birchwood Power Facility in King George County, Va., into a solar generation and energy storage facility, J-Power said in […]

April 5, 2021 Read More →
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IEEFA U.S.: ‘New Promise Act’ would help communities transition from coal-based economy

O’Halleran legislation aims to cushion economic losses caused by plant closures

April 2, 2021 (IEEFA) — The recently introduced New Promise Act, sponsored by Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., marks a potentially important step forward in recognizing the need for a federal commitment to economic revitalization in communities that have been hard-hit by the decline of the coal economy. The bill, inspired by the closure of the […]