October 5, 2020 Read More →

Illinois coal projects ‘run into unforgiving economics’

The News-Gazette:

A couple decades ago, the line about Illinois was that we were “the Saudi Arabia of coal,” with about 15 percent of the nation’s economically recoverable reserves of the fossil fuel.

But the demand for coal, from Illinois or anywhere else in the United States, is shrinking. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that coal production in Illinois during the first half of 2020 amounted to 16 million tons,  a drop of 31.5 percent. In 2019, the state produced about 45 million tons of coal.

And virtually every month brings an announcement about the proposed closure of another coal-burning power plant. Last week, Vistra Energy announced that it intends to close four more coal-fired power plants in Illinois by 2027, most of them legacy plants that had been built and operated by utility companies, like Illinois Power, that are no longer in business. 

“The decline of the American coal industry more generally is gaining momentum, pushed out by cheap gas from fracking and rapidly falling costs for wind, solar and storage,” said a 2019 report from the nonprofit Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. It predicted that most of the once-mighty Illinois Basin coal industry would be gone within 20 years. 

[Tom Kacich]

More: End may be near for an Illinois industry here from the beginning

Posted in: IEEFA In the News

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