August 17, 2018 Read More →

WVU study sees continued decline in West Virginia coal production

WV Public Broadcasting:

A new economic forecast shows the recent uptick in coal production is expected to level out during the next two years and decline precipitously during the next two decades.

The annual coal production report, released today by West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, shows the recent uptick in coal production will be short-lived.

The last few years have been a bright spot for West Virginia coal. Production has increased nearly 27 percent since the middle of 2016, driven largely by an uptick in coal exports to places like India, Brazil and Ukraine.

By contrast, the report forecasts a 3 percent drop in coal production during the next two years, with production leveling out around 85 million tons of coal mined by 2020.

“Weakening export activity will likely drive most of the anticipated drop in production through 2020, but the retirement and/or conversion of several gigawatts worth of coal-fired generating capacity that sources coal from West Virginia mines will also account for some of this decline,” the report states.

Coal production in both the northern and southern parts of the state will be affected. But northern West Virginia, which largely produces thermal coal for use by U.S. power plants, will be hit harder. From 2020 through 2040, the analysts expect production to continue to drop, hitting 66 million tons by 2040, a 17 percent decline from 2016.

More: Coal production report predicts downturn in the industry

Comments are closed.