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IEEFA Research

IEEFA Report: Three Timely Takeaways on 2016 Global Energy Transformation

An Acceleration to Renewables, Faster-Than-Expected Shifts Regionally and Nationally, Growing Risk for Investors Who Lag Behind

Three notable takeaways emerge from the rapid transformation of the global energy economy, as we detail in a new paper we published today as the landmark Paris Agreement officially goes into effect. The global transition to renewables is accelerating. Change is happening faster than expected. Those left behind in this transition face growing financial risk. […]

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IEEFA Exxon: Telltale Crossover in Late 2014 Marks Where a Major Oil Stock Began to Go South

A Decoupling From the Larger Stock Market 2 Years Ago Portends a Future in Which the World’s Biggest Oil Company Will Be Smaller and Will Not Pay Out as Much in Shareholder Distributions

The world is moving in fits and starts but with gathering momentum toward a more diversified, low-carbon energy mix. The evidence is all around us. One exhibit, of many, is in the report we published this week—“Red Flags on Exxon: A Note to Institutional Investors”—which includes the chart here: ExxonMobil Financial Performance, 2006 – 2015 […]

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IEEFA Report: Red Flags on ExxonMobil: Core Financials Show a Company in Decline

Potentially Irreversible Slide; Falling Revenues, Rising Debt, Shrinking Capex, Weak Cash Balances Add to Growing Reputational Risk Tied to Climate-Change Controversy; ; Institutional Investors Owe Their Shareholders a Fiduciary Review

CLEVELAND, Oct. 26, 2016 (IEEFA.org) — The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) published a report today that indicates deep financial weaknesses at ExxonMobil (XOM) and suggests the company is in potentially irreversible decline. The report—“Red Flags on ExxonMobil (XOM)”—by IEEFA Director of Finance Tom Sanzillo, cites key metrics that include a 45 […]

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IEEFA Global: A $51 Billion Gap (and a $51 Billion Opportunity) in BRICS Nations’ Renewable Energy Development

How to Meet the Goal? Through "Blended Finance" Where Public Funds Unleash Private Money

Here, in one chart, is an IEEFA picture worth a thousand words. While some $130 billion was invested last year in renewable-energy development in the BRICS countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—billions more are required if these countries are to meet their commitments to climate-change mitigation policies. The four countries, in all, have announced […]

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IEEFA Europe: Blueprint for a Lignite Phase-Out in Germany

Foundation-Based Approach to Closure and Clean-Up; New Czech Owners of Vattenfall Assets in Lausitz Can Afford to Foot the Bill; a Timeline That Helps Local Communities Prepare for Transition

The recent “sale” by the Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall of its German lignite assets throws a harsh light on a dark paradox: the continued use of the world’s most carbon-intensive fuel by a country with some of the most ambitious targets to tackle climate change. The deal transfers a cluster of lignite mines and their […]

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IEEFA Texas: The Beginning of the End for Coal-Fired Electricity Across One of the Biggest Power Markets in the U.S.

Report Finds Seven Plants Emblematic of a Fading Industry

We published a research report today describing how the coal-fired electricity industry in Texas is in decline and unlikely to recover in the face of rising competition from other energy sources. Our report—“The Beginning of the End: Fundamental Changes in Energy Markets Are Undermining the Financial Viability of Coal-Fired Power Plants in Texas”—looks specifically at […]

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IEEFA Report: A Cynical Re-Regulation Strategy in West Virginia

FirstEnergy’s Machinations Around the Pleasants Power Station Are Designed to Shift Risk to Ratepayers

In seeking to get the West Virginia Public Service Commission to allow it to sell all or a portion of its Pleasants Power Station, Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp. is following a strategy of re-regulation that stands to benefit shareholders at ratepayer expense. The coal-fired 1,300-megawatt Pleasants plant is currently owned by a FirstEnergy deregulated subsidiary, Allegheny […]

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IEEFA Ohio: Damn Tradition, Bailouts Are Where It’s At

Update: FirstEnergy Piles Insult Onto Billions of Dollars in Injury by Threatening to Move Its Headquarters From Akron

Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve always thought investor-owned electric utilities were set up to provide power to consumers who paid for what they got.    In states where electricity is deregulated, utility companies compete for customers—just like any other business does. And in states where utilities are regulated, public-utility commissions determine how rates are set […]

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IEEFA Report: India Clings to Questionable Ultra Mega Power Plant Plans

Viability Issues Continue to Complicate New Coal-Fired Projects

We’ve published a report today noting that while India has undergone an admirable energy-policy shift over the past few years, it is clinging unwisely to plans to build two costly coal-fired Ultra Mega Power Plants. Our report—“India’s Questionable Ultra Mega Power Plans”— details how these UMPP projects stand in jarring contrast to better-advised initiatives that […]

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IEEFA Kentucky: Owensboro Coal-Fired Power Plant Is No Longer Viable


Increasingly Expensive to Operate and a Drain on Ratepayers 


We’ve published a memorandum today explaining why the aging coal-fired Elmer Smith power plant in Owensboro, Ky., must be retired soon and how Owensboro Municipal Utilities would do well to invest in renewable electricity generation instead. Our memorandum describes how the plant—whose two units date from 1964 and 1974—has become increasingly uneconomic to operate and […]

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More News and Commentary

In Bankruptcy Reorganization, U.S. Coal Giant Alpha Is Overstating Cash Flows by $100 Million, Regulators Say

Taylor Kuykendall for SNL: West Virginia regulators admonished Alpha Natural Resources Inc. for a five-year business projection that overstated “cash flows by a whopping $100 million.” The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection noted it would not challenge a settlement resolving the shortfall between Alpha and Contura Energy Inc., the entity formed from the bankruptcy […]

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North Dakota Oil Production Falls

Daniel J. Graeber for UPI: A regulator in North Dakota said low oil prices were in part behind the decline in crude oil production, last reported at its lowest level since early 2014. The North Dakota Industrial Commission reported crude oil production in September, the last full month for which it has data, at 971,658 […]

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Op-Ed: The Coal Industry Isn’t Coming Back

Michael E. Webber for the New York Times: Many in Appalachia and other coal-mining regions believe that President Obama’s supposed war on coal caused a steep decline in the industry’s fortunes. But coal’s struggles to compete are caused by cheap natural gas, cheap renewables, air-quality regulations that got their start in the George W. Bush […]

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On the Blogs: Across U.S., Bipartisan, Grass-Roots Support for Renewables

Dave Roberts for Vox: There are many things that divide Americans, but they are generally united on the benefits of making money. Even as the (small and shrinking) number of coal jobs gets endless media attention, renewable energy has scaled up to become a serious employer in the US. And it’s happening in places far […]

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‘Ironically,’ Dakota Access Pipeline Risks Defeat by Low Prices and Oil Infrastructure Glut

Chris White for the Daily Caller: The Dakota Access Pipeline is at risk of becoming an abandoned project due to historically low oil prices, according to a report published Wednesday by an energy research firm. The report, “The High-Risk Financing Behind the Dakota Access Pipeline: A Potential Stranded Asset in the Bakken Region of North […]

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China and India Will Step in Wherever U.S. Renewable Investment Slips

Maria Gallucci for Mashable: China and India stand to benefit if America’s progress on clean energy slips under President-elect Donald Trump, energy experts say. Trump has vowed to gut U.S. climate policies that favor wind, solar and other lower-emissions technologies and instead revive the struggling coal sector. But the world’s energy market is moving in […]

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North Dakota Project Stands to Add to Pipeline Glut

Daniel J. Graeber for UPI: If the pipeline isn’t completed by Jan. 1, the project consortium may have to revisit some of the contracts for shipping oil through the 1,110-mile pipeline. The institute said further that crude oil prices being about 50 percent lower than they were at the height of the U.S. shale era […]

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Renewables Are a Winner in Global Energy Transition; Coal Is the Loser

John Schwartz for the New York Times: The annual report of the I.E.A., which is based in Paris, noted that renewable energy was booming, with more capacity added in 2015 than for coal, oil and nuclear power combined. Still, fossil fuels will have a substantial role to play in the global energy mix for many […]

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On the Blogs: Trump’s ‘Empty Rhetoric’ on Coal Markets

Andy Roberts for CleanTechnica.com: While Trump means to help, he may not have the means to help. A divided U.S. citizenry is similarly reflected in its divided government, leaving the president just one reliable tool in his arsenal — sole executive action. But while executive action is a tool often used by presidents, it is […]

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Wall Street Coal Analysts Skeptical of Comeback

Bill Holland for SNL Beta: Despite his campaign promises, Donald Trump will not be able to revive the U.S. coal industry absent a sharp spike in natural gas prices, as he loosens environmental regulations on oil and gas pipelines, a pair of analysts have been telling their clients since the election. Trump’s plan to loosen […]

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