US Coal Markets

IEEFA Research

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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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 ( — 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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For U.S. Coal, Market Realities Grow Increasingly Harsh

Debt Hurdles, Reclamation and Pension Challenges, Abandonment by Hedge Funds

We distributed a briefing note this week that delves into some of the many pressing difficulties confronting U.S. coal producers. In the note (“Struggling U.S. Coal Companies Face Debt Hurdles, Complications From Reclamation and Pension Obligations, Pressure from Hedge Funds”) we talk about how the cumulative impacts of the industry’s many mounting liabilities—reclamation costs, pension […]

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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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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: Trump’s ‘Empty Rhetoric’ on Coal Markets

Andy Roberts for 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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Exelon Pushes for Illinois State Subsidies for Its Coal and Nuclear Plants

Kari Lyderson for Midwest Energy News: Illinois legislators today introduced a long-awaited massive energy bill that would provide subsidies to keep nuclear plants and coal plants running and introduce a controversial demand charge, along with fixing the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, increasing energy efficiency investments and other measures. For more than a year, Exelon has […]

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New York Town’s Post-Coal Transition Seen as Model for Colstrip, Montana

Eric Tegethoff for Public News Service Montana: Although the fate of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan is up in the air now that Donald Trump has been elected president, at least part of Colstrip’s coal-fired power plant is still likely to close by 2022. Peter DeJesus, field coordinator for Western New York Area […]

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On the Blogs: Trump Runs Risk of Suffering LBJ-Like ‘Credibility Gap’ on Energy Markets

John H. Cushman Jr. for InsideClimate News: Judging by the brief discussion of energy policy on Donald Trump’s White House transition website, what he’d like to change about the Obama approach is everything. Presented below are our expectations for Trump’s Top Ten list—along with some evidence about how complicated it might be to achieve these […]

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Trump’s ‘Nearly Impossible’ Promise to Revive Coal

Rebecca Smith for the Wall Street Journal: Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to resurrect the ailing U.S. coal industry and put miners back to work. Delivering on that vow could prove nearly impossible. Electric utilities that buy more than 95% of the coal mined in America have already retired hundreds of their coal-burning power […]

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Company Drops Plans for Coal-Export Dock in Oregon

From the Associated Press: An energy company has scrapped plans to build a coal dock on the Columbia River in eastern Oregon. The East Oregonian reports that the proposed Coyote Island Terminal at the Port of Morrow in Boardman would have shipped 8 million tons of coal down the river each year for export to […]

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IEEFA Update: The Global Energy Transformation Remains on Track

U.S. Presidential Election Results Regardless, the Gathering Transition to Renewables Continues

Regardless of any potential or even likely shift in U.S. energy policies, the transition of global energy markets is firmly entrenched. A succession of financial and technology breakthroughs position renewable energy and efficiency as clearly price competitive in an increasing number of energy markets  Policy action, with the ratification of the Paris climate accord, reflects […]

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