Powder River Basin Coal

IEEFA Research

As Texas Coal-Fired Power Plants Close, Powder River Basin Mines Are Losing Their Largest Customers

Trends Will Force Closures and Complicate Efforts by Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal and Peabody Energy to Work Their Way Out of Bankruptcy

CLEVELAND, Aug. 3, 2016 (IEEFA.org) — The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis today published a report detailing how Powder River Basin coal producers are losing their largest customers as Texas power producers turn increasingly to other sources of energy. The report, “Texas’ Outsize Role in the Decline of the Powder River Basin Coal […]

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The Federal Government’s Coal-Leasing Program Is Broken: Here’s How to Fix It

Appoint a Price-Setting Commission; Ban Exports; Cancel Some Leases; Eliminate Self-Bonding; Mandate Set-Asides for Mine Clean-up and Miner Pensions; Require Twice-a-Year Audits; Assume Smaller Markets

It’s time for the U.S. to modernize how it manages its publicly owned coal reserves. That’s the essence of comments we’ve filed today with the Department of the Interior as it begins a review of its federal coal-leasing program in the Powder River Basin, a program that has been mismanaged for years at taxpayer expense […]

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IEEFA Analysis: Financial Condition of Montana’s Colstrip 1 and 2 Worse Than Previously Known


Costs to Ratepayers Stand to Increase if Puget Sound Keeps Two Coal-Fired Plants Alive

In testimony today to the state Utilities and Transportation Commission in Olympia, Wash., we are presenting fresh analyses that shows how two coal-fired electricity generators in Montana co-owned by Puget Sound Energy are worse investments  than previously known. Over the past several months, IEEFA has documented how Colstrip 1 and 2 have become an increasingly […]

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If Peabody Is to Recover, It Must Close More Mines

The World’s Biggest Private-Sector Coal Company’s Current Turnaround Strategy Won’t Work

Peabody Energy, the largest private-sector coal-mining company in the world, is out with a dismal review today of its 2015 performance. The metrics unto themselves are damning, and Peabody’s plan for turning things around is even worse. In a report we’ve just published (with the Seattle-based Sightline Institute)—“Peabody’s Strategies for Survival Ignore Market Realities and Risks […]

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As the BLM Begins Coal-Lease ‘Listening Sessions,’ a Few Hard Truths Must Be Heard

Ban Coal Exports From the Powder River Basin, for Starters, and Impose a Moratorium on Taxpayer-Subsidized Leases

U.S. taxpayers own the largest remaining domestic coal reserves in the country, valuable resources that sit in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming and that are vital to the energy security of our country. The federal government, sad to say, has been an almost pathologically passive overseer of these resources (read more about […]

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Study Concludes That Colstrip 1 and 2 Are Financially Unviable; Cautions Against Further Expenditures

In an Era of Low Natural-Gas Prices and Competition From Renewable Energy, Phasing Out Two Coal-Fired Units Is the Best Option for Owners

JUNE 23, 2015 (IEEFA) — An analysis of data on operational costs and energy markets by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis questions the financial viability of the two oldest units at the Colstrip coal-fired power plant in eastern Montana. Colstrip Units 1 and 2, which are owned equally by Talen Montana and Puget Sound […]

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Comments on Proposed Consolidated Federal Oil and Gas and Federal and Indian Coal Valuation Reform, ONRR-2012-0004-0024

COAL SOLD FOR EXPORT SHOULD NOT BE EXEMPT FROM FEDERAL ROYALTY PAYMENTS

Comments on Proposed Consolidated Federal Oil and Gas and Federal and Indian Coal Valuation Reform, ONRR-2012-0004-0024 By Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

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Report – No Need for New U.S. Coal Ports: Data Shows Oversupply in Capacity

No Need for New U.S. Coal Ports: Data Shows Oversupply in Capacity (pdf) By Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance, IEEFA  

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Report: 20 Fourth-Quarter Questions for Powder River Basin Coal Producers

20 Fourth-Quarter Questions for Powder River Basin Coal Producers (pdf) By Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

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Memo- Response to the Department of Interior, Office of Inspector General Audit on Federal Coal Leasing Program

Policy memo: Response to the Department of Interior, Office of Inspector General Audit on Federal Coal Leasing Program June 28, 2013 (pdf)

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More News and Commentary

Blocking U.S. Move Toward Coal-Lease Reform Would Only Hurt the Oversupplied Coal Industry

Josh Learn for SNL Beta: As the results of the federal election settle in across the country, coal advocates see a possible end in sight for the federal coal lease moratorium under President-elect Donald Trump. However, some coal opponents say that halting the moratorium will actually “hasten the decline” of the industry in the U.S. […]

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On the Blogs: ‘5 Charts That Show How Coal Is Getting Killed in Texas’

Katherine Tweed for GreetechMedia.com: Coal-fired power plants are facing increasing financial distress due to low prices in the Texas electricity market, a trend that is unlikely to reverse, according to a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, The Beginning of the End. The pressure on coal is coming primarily from […]

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The Powder River Basin Bust

Tim Loh for Bloomberg News: The bust that’s devastated Appalachia for five years has finally reached cowboy country’s Powder River Basin. For four decades, the 300-mile corridor stretching from Wyoming north into Montana thrived on the strength of the cleaner low-sulfur coal carved from its vast plains. No more. After producing more than 400 million […]

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U.S. Coal Production Down 26% in First Half of 2016

Hira Fawad and Joshua Learn for SNL: Coal production fell in the first half of 2016 dropped 26% from the same period of 2015 on widespread output curtailments especially in the massive Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana.. Data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence shows that coal production was down to 777.7 million […]

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Both Promoters and Opponents Sense a Pulse in Dormant Gateway Pacific Coal-Export Project

Christopher Coats for SNL: Months after federal and Washington state officials effectively halted progress on the proposed Gateway Pacific coal export terminal, project backers have moved to ensure that they can return to the project at a later date, while opponents are moving to halt it completely with an expansion of state protection. The proposed […]

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Coal CEO Urges Industry to Accept Climate Change as ‘a Political and Public Reality’

Christopher Coats for SNL: Cloud Peak Energy Inc. President and CEO Colin Marshall appealed to a rail and coal gathering Sept. 13 to stop arguing over the reality of climate change and start pushing for a potential solution to the issue involving coal, specifically through support for carbon capture and sequestration technology. Speaking to the […]

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BLM Official in Wyoming: Coal Reserves ‘Belong to the American People’

Taylor Kuykendall for SNL: Officials charged with leasing federal coal remain busy even if there is moratorium on the practice. Mary Jo Rugwell was selected as the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s state director for Wyoming, the nation’s top-producing coal state, earlier this year. While new coal leases are paused for a review of the […]

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IEEFA Alert: Peabody’s Plan to Emerge From Bankruptcy Is Likely to End in Bankruptcy Again 


Shades Of What Happened to Patriot Coal, a Spinoff That Overstated Minable Reserves and Was Overly Optimistic on the Effects of Its Cost-Cutting Strategies


Peabody Energy’s plan to emerge from bankruptcy will most likely end ironically. In another bankruptcy, that is. We’ve studied the plan and find it lacking in credibility on several points (here’s the underlying research memo we recently put together). The plan is overly optimistic on financial projections in key areas, in its coal-production outlook and […]

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On the Blogs: Peabody’s Incredible Comeback Plan

Dave Roberts for Vox.com: In the context of US capitalism, corporate bankruptcy has become less an admission of failure or a final chapter than a kind of R&R, a chance to shed some flab and come back stronger. As anyone who has followed Donald Trump’s career knows, a big company declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy is […]

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On the Blogs: Markets Are Forcing Corrections in Wyoming Coal Industry

Dustin Bleizeffer for WyoFile: “What the [federal] regulations are actually doing are hastening capital allocations away from coal,” analyst Tom Sanzillo told WyoFile recently. Energy markets are already moving away from coal and toward natural gas, wind, solar and energy efficiency anyway, he added. But Sanzillo, finance director of the Institute for Energy Economics and […]

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