Booming thermal coal price on China demand cheers miners

17 Aug 2017   China, Coal

Australian thermal coal prices for spot cargoes above $100 a tonne, lifted by reports of strikes and strong Chinese demand, are providing a boost in earnings and share prices for miners like Glencore and Whitehaven Coal. A crackdown on illegal mining and pollution in China has curbed domestic supplies, just as a heat wave and lower hydro power output have boosted demand for coal for power generation, forcing up prices. A similar squeeze in 2016 pushed prices to $114 a tonne and miners are again eyeing windfall profits, despite warning that the market is volatile. “Coal demand remains strong, especially in Asia,” said Paul Flynn, managing director of Whitehaven Coal. “Imports of thermal coal into China have been higher than anticipated, and when combined with weather related constraints on supply from Indonesia and some production issues in Australia, have pushed up the price of seaborne thermal […]

Russian scientist says leave coal in the ground

17 Aug 2017   Coal, Russia

Nearly all of the world’s coal reserves and 30 percent of its oil should be left alone in order to keep climate change at bay, a Russian scientist said. Mikhail Yulkin, the director general at the Center for Environmental Investments, told Russian news agency Tass that investors were moving to low-carbon energy resources with such vigor that it was “needless” to call it alternative energy. A report last week on the global energy balance from the International Energy Agency found coal was more or less at parity with natural gas as an energy source for the first time ever. According to the IEA, global coal production declined last year by 458 million tons as advanced economies move toward greener resources. “In order to […]

Energy Department Faces Pressure Over Power Study

16 Aug 2017   Coal, Nuclear, USA

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry at a clean energy conference in Beijing in June. Energy Secretary Rick Perry faces stepped-up pressure from environmental groups over a power grid study that he has signaled could help bolster coal and nuclear power. On Monday, the Sierra Club announced it filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that the Energy Department violated laws on public access to information by not responding to its Freedom of Information Act requests for communications between the agency and outside groups, such as fossil-fuel interests. The suit asks the court to force the department to turn over those records. “We’ve repeatedly asked DOE for information to ensure reality and science are coming before polluter politics, but we have only been met with delays and secrecy,” said Mary Anne Hitt, a Sierra Club director. The Energy Department didn’t immediately respond to a […]

America’s Other Coal Job, Ignored by Politicians, Is Dying Fast

11 Aug 2017   Coal

Coal-fired power plants are shutting down or shedding staff Trader sees coal ‘going to zero’; workers cite safety risks A couple months ago, Donald Trump was cheering a new coal mine in Pennsylvania that will put 70 people to work — good news for a president whose pledge to revive the industry helped get him elected. But a bigger group of coal workers has already suffered sweeping job cuts, and it’s bracing for more. Coal-fired power plants employ more people than mines, and they’re shutting down all over the country. Cheap natural gas, the rise of renewables backed by tax credits, and subsidies for nuclear energy will likely combine to keep the trend going — and leave more people like Lynnette Faje out of work. Lynnette Faje Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg Faje had spent more than a quarter century at an Illinois-based power company that’s owned today by NRG Energy […]

Coal production gains slowing, U.S. report finds

10 Aug 2017   Coal, USA

Coal is in the rise in the first months of the Trump presidency, but renewable energy showing momentum in its own right. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI Aug. 9 (UPI) — Coal exports from the United States increased, but are slowing down, while renewable energy is on pace for short-term growth, the federal government reported. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported coal exports were around 37 million tons total for the first five months of the year, a level that’s 60 percent higher than the same time last year. U.S. President Trump in his first weeks in office took aim at environmental rules he said threatened the coal industry. According to the White House, more than 600 coal mines closed in the six years ending in 2015, production declined by more than 177 million tons and more than 36,000 jobs were lost “without any sign of relief.” On the […]

Australia’s North Queensland Jul coal exports rise 9% on year to 12.24 mil mt: NQBP

9 Aug 2017   Australia, Coal

Exports of coal from the metallurgical coal dominant region of North Queensland, Australia, totaled 12.24 million mt in July, up 9% year on year but down 4% from June, North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation data showed Tuesday. The exports come via the 85 million mt/year capacity Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, the 55 million mt/year Hay Point Coal Terminal and the 50 million mt/year Abbot Point Coal Terminal. Total exports in July from the three terminals translate to an annualized rate of 144.16 million mt, which leaves 45.84 million mt of latent capacity across the three terminals with a combined capacity of 190 million mt/year. The biggest of the three, DBCT, which is a Queensland State Government-owned common user facility, shipped 5.82 million mt during the month, which is up 8% year on year but down 10% from a six-month high of 6.44 million mt in June, the figures showed. […]

Under Trump, Coal Mining Gets New Life on U.S. Lands

7 Aug 2017   Coal

The Trump administration is wading into one of the oldest and most contentious debates in the West by encouraging more coal mining on lands owned by the federal government. It is part of an aggressive push to both invigorate the struggling American coal industry and more broadly exploit commercial opportunities on public lands. The intervention has roiled conservationists and many Democrats, exposing deep divisions about how best to manage the 643 million acres of federally owned land — most of which is in the West — an area more than six times the size of California. Not since the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion during the Reagan administration have companies and individuals with economic interests in the lands, mining companies among them, held such a strong upper hand. Clouds of dust blew across the horizon […]

Weekly US coal production estimate highest since February: EIA

3 Aug 2017   Coal, USA

Weekly US coal production totaled an estimated 16.1 million st in the week ended July 29, up 4.4% from the prior week and up 13.1% from the year-ago week, US Energy Information Administration data showed Thursday. It was the fifth highest estimate so far this year, and first to top 16 million st since the week ended February 18. The production increase comes as stockpiles continue to decline and coal consumption is higher. Platts Analytics’ Bentek Energy estimates utility coal stockpiles as of last Thursday stood at 129.7 million st, which would be the lowest monthly total since September 2014. Platts Analytics also estimated US coal consumption is up 3.2% this year compared to last year, primarily due to higher natural gas prices. For the recently-concluded week, coal production in Wyoming and Montana, which primarily consists of coal from the Powder River Basin, totaled an estimated 7.62 million st, […]

US coal prices could rally later this year if stockpiles continue declining

3 Aug 2017   Coal

Coal markets are changing in ways no one could have imagined. To remain competitive, you need to know where coal markets stand. Get essential information for traders, risk managers, analysts and other professionals who need unbiased information for short- and long-term action and analysis on the coal markets. Platts Coal Trader, supplemented with Platts Coal Trader Analytics, helps you: Make better informed business decisions Keep up with daily price fluctuations and market moves Find out what trades are occurring and the price and quantity Hedge better with NYMEX prices and financial settlements Learn more what affects the market, and find details about mergers, acquisitions, and new players and more. Video Transcript US coal prices could rally later this year if stockpiles continue declining By Andrew Moore, managing editor, Platts Coal Trader Welcome to the Snapshot, a series examining the forces shaping and driving global commodities markets today. Coal stockpiles […]

U.S. coal exports surge, but thank China, not Trump:

31 Jul 2017   Coal

U.S. coal miners are almost certainly cheering the sharp rise in exports of their product, but their good fortune is mainly the result of Chinese domestic policies that have driven up global prices for the polluting fuel. While U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration would no doubt like to claim credit for reviving the coal industry, it’s likely there has been virtually no structural change that will ensure a sustained boost for U.S. coal exports. Rather, the situation of the previous years remains intact, which sees the United States as a swing supplier of coal, with additional exports largely dependent on whether prices in Asia are high enough to make the economics of the long sea voyage possible. This dynamic is shown by looking at the breakdown of seaborne coal exports from the United States, as tracked by Thomson Reuters Supply Chain and Commodity […]

U.S. coal exports soar, in boost to Trump energy agenda, data shows

28 Jul 2017   Coal, USA

U.S. coal exports have jumped more than 60 percent this year due to soaring demand from Europe and Asia, according to a Reuters review of government data, allowing President Donald Trump’s administration to claim that efforts to revive the battered industry are working. The increased shipments came as the European Union and other U.S. allies heaped criticism on the Trump administration for its rejection of the Paris Climate Accord, a deal agreed by nearly 200 countries to cut carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels like coal. The previously unpublished figures provided to Reuters by the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed exports of the fuel from January through May totaled 36.79 million tons, up 60.3 percent from 22.94 million tons in the same period in 2016. While reflecting a bounce from 2016, the shipments remained well-below volumes recorded in equivalent periods the previous five years. […]

After China-induced price spike, coal set to resume long-term decline

26 Jul 2017   Coal

Coal prices’ march to eight-month highs, driven by China’s huge appetite for power consumption, looks like an interlude in a longer-term decline and is seen losing traction later this year. Investors widely anticipate a slow demise for coal use due to policies encouraging cleaner natural gas and renewable energy generation, but the shorter-term outlook for the industry has seen a sharp reversal of fortunes. Asia’s benchmark physical coal prices GCLNWCPFBMc1 have gained more than a third from lows seen in May to nearly $98 per ton, while European benchmark API2 2018 coal futures are at eight-month highs of around $74 a ton. Recent gains are largely due to high demand in China, where power consumption has jumped […]

Coal has no future, says US railroad boss

20 Jul 2017   Coal, Railroads

One of the largest haulers of US coal says fossil fuels have no future, despite pledges to the contrary from President Donald Trump. CSX, a freight railroad company with origins in the bituminous coal seams of Appalachia, will not buy a single new locomotive to pull coal trains, chief executive Hunter Harrison told analysts on Wednesday. “Fossil fuels are dead,” Mr Harrison said. “That’s a long-term view. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s not going to be in two or three years. But it’s going away, in my view.”  His comments come as the White House aims to revive the American coal industry by rescinding environmental regulations and abandoning the Paris climate agreement. Mr Trump surrounded himself with coal miners earlier this year when he signed an executive order he said was “putting an end to the war on coal”.  Fossil fuels are dead . . . It’s not going to be in two or three years. But it’s going away, in my view Yet US power generators are building more plants fuelled by cheap natural gas, displacing old coal-fired units. Falling costs for solar and wind energy have also eaten into coal’s market share.  North American railroads have reshaped their asset holdings in acknowledgment that coal’s apex has passed.

Coal and Nuclear are Uneconomic — More Bombshells from Perry’s Draft Grid Study

19 Jul 2017   Coal, USA

On Saturday, we reported that a leaked draft of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s grid study obtained by Bloomberg debunks his attack on renewable energy. ThinkProgress has now obtained a copy of that draft, and it has many more surprises — or, rather, findings that are fairly well known to energy experts but may come as an unpleasant surprise to Perry and the White House. For instance, a large fraction of America’s aging fleet of coal and nuclear plants are simply not economic to operate anymore. The July draft, which ThinkProgress received from multiple sources, is here , so the public will be able to compare the final “politically-approved” version with the draft prepared by Department of Energy (DOE) staff. It is widely feared Perry’s team of Trump appointees will simply erase the the study’s inconvenient truths before it final report is released to the public. The release of the […]

China’s June coal imports fall 3% on year to 21.6 million mt

13 Jul 2017   China, Coal

China imported 21.6 million mt of coal in June, including lignite, thermal and metallurgical material, down 2.66% from May and a marginal 0.68% lower year on year, according to preliminary data released Thursday by the General Administration of Customs. China imported 22.19 million mt of coal in May this year. In June 2016, the country imported 21.75 million mt of coal. “Total coal imports weakened slightly by 2.7% month on month and 0.7% year on year as crackdown on low-rank thermal coal imports may have kept Indonesian volumes away,” Citi analysts said in a note. The analysts said they expected Chinese custom controls over low-rank thermal coal to put pressure on July and August volumes too. Article continues below… Platts Coal Trader International is the only daily publication where you can access Platts proprietary price assessments for coal trading in the Atlantic and Pacific markets, including FOB Newcastle 5,500 […]

Coal projected to be US’ top generating fuel in 2017: EIA

12 Jul 2017   Coal, USA

Coal is projected to provide the majority of US power generation in 2017, retaking the crown from natural gas, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s monthly Short Term Energy Outlook released Tuesday. The agency projects coal will fuel 31.3% of the US’ electricity in 2017 compared with 31.1% for gas. In 2016, gas surpassed coal as the nation’s primary fuel for the first time, totaling 33.8% of generation compared with 30.4% for coal. The agency has projected gas to be the top fuel in 2017 in most of their reports so far this year, including June’s edition, but increasing gas prices as well as higher hydro generation have pushed gas below coal for the first time. Article continues below… Platts Summer Webinar Series I: Northeast Pipeline Expansion Overview – Market after Rover, Leach Express July 26, 2017 | 1-2pm (MDT) │ Online Join Eric Brooks, analyst, qualitative analysis, […]

Coal no longer fuels America. But the legacy — and the myth — remain.

10 Jul 2017   Coal, USA

A statue honoring miners stands in front of the Boone County Courthouse in Madison, W.Va. The memorial flame stays lit for the duration of the town’s week-long Coal Festival. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post) Boone County claims to be the birthplace of America’s coal industry, the rich and abundant black rock discovered in these verdant hills almost three centuries ago. Coal gives name to nearly everything in these parts — the Big and Little Coal rivers, the weekly Coal Valley News, the wondrous Bituminous Coal Heritage Foundation Museum and the West Virginia Coal Festival, celebrating, as we arrive in town, its 24th year. The festival is more state fair than true celebration of coal. There’s a carnival, a talent competition, seven beauty queens (from Little Miss Coal Festival to Forever West Virginia Coal Queen). Late in the afternoon of the second day, high on a hill graced with the […]

Perry says coal-fired power plants important in US future

7 Jul 2017   Coal, USA

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Thursday that coal-fired power plants are important for the country’s future, and he suggested that energy supply will spark demand. After touring a coal-fired power plant, Perry was asked about the economics of coal when natural gas is far cheaper. West Virginia currently has a boom in gas production but needs more shipping capacity. Several pipeline projects are under way. “Here’s a little economics lesson, supply and demand: You put the supply out there and the demand will follow that,” Perry said. “The market will decide which of these they’re going to pick and choose.” That’s not typically how economists would describe the way supply and demand works. In general, higher demand for any good or service – such as coal – drives the supply. That’s because more customer demand typically drives up the price, which […]

Unexpected Move From China Boosts Coal Prices

5 Jul 2017   China, Coal

That’s because of a critical and unexpected policy change that came down over the weekend. With the world’s biggest coal-consuming nation shutting down over 150 import points for supply. The place is China. Where the government decreed that coal imports will no longer be allowed at smaller ports across the country, according to state newspaper China Securities Times. The new import ban reportedly affects at least 150 small ports across the country. Which have, up until now, been major points of entry for coal supply. Many of those small facilities are in fact owned by coastal power plants, which use them to bring in coal supply for generation. With these ports having lower loading fees than first-tier facilities — by up to $1 per tonne of imported coal. And the ban is happening right now. Authorities said that coal imports at smaller ports will be stopped as of July […]

A First-of-Its-Kind Clean Coal Plant May Not Burn Coal at All

23 Jun 2017   Coal

Mississippi wants deal that’d have plant fueled by gas only Southern has spent years constructing the Kemper coal plant A first-of-its-kind “clean coal” power plant that utility owner Southern Co. spent years constructing in Mississippi may end up burning no coal at all — and instead just run like a natural gas generator. After years of delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns, Mississippi regulators on Wednesday called on Southern to work up a deal that would have the Kemper plant fueled only by gas. The state Public Service Commission said in a statement that it’s looking for a solution that eliminates the risk to ratepayers “for unproven technology,” which involved converting coal into gas that could then be used to generate electricity — all while capturing emissions. Settling for gas only at Southern’s Kemper plant threatens to undermine the business rationale for the kind of clean-coal technology […]

A First-of-Its-Kind Clean Coal Plant May Not Burn Coal at All

22 Jun 2017   Coal

Mississippi wants deal that’d have plant fueled by gas only Southern has spent years constructing the Kemper coal plant A first-of-its-kind “clean coal” power plant that utility owner Southern Co. spent years constructing in Mississippi may end up burning no coal at all — and instead just run like a natural gas generator. After years of delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns, Mississippi regulators on Wednesday called on Southern to work up a deal that would have the Kemper plant fueled only by gas. The state Public Service Commission said in a statement that it’s looking for a solution that eliminates the risk to ratepayers “for unproven technology,” which involved converting coal into gas that could then be used to generate electricity — all while capturing emissions. Settling for gas only at Southern’s Kemper plant threatens to undermine the business rationale for the kind of clean-coal technology […]

Coal’s Decline Spreads Far Beyond Appalachia

20 Jun 2017   Coal

Far from the mines of Appalachia, the decline of coal is hitting communities that relied on coal-fired power plants for jobs and income. During the past five years, roughly 350 coal-fired generating units shut down across the U.S., ranging from small units at factories to huge power plants, according to data from the Energy…

Switching From Coal To Solar Could Save 50,000 Lives

20 Jun 2017   Coal, Solar

Replacing coal-fired power plants with solar power installations could save as many as 51,999 lives every year, a study from the Michigan Technological University has found. This is the number of people who will in all likelihood not die of things such as asthma and congestive heart failure resulting from harmful emissions from coal-fired plants. Coal currently accounts for 30 percent of the U.S. energy mix, according to the Energy Information Administration. In terms of consumption, however, coal only accounted for 15 percent, almost all of it going into power generation. The fossil fuel is quickly losing share to natural gas, but is still a solid contributor to CO2 and other pollutants emissions – solid enough, according to the study’s authors, Emily Prehoda and Joshua Pierce, to kill more than 50,000 people on an annual basis. Switching from fossil fuels to renewables is at the core of sustainability efforts. […]

World Coal Production Just Had Its Biggest Drop on Record

14 Jun 2017   Coal

Fossil fuel sees ‘decisive break’ from period of demand growth Carbon emissions show little or no growth for third year: BP It’s the end of an era for coal. Production of the fossil fuel dropped by a record amount in 2016, according to BP Plc ’s annual review of global energy trends. China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, burned the least coal in six years and use dropped in the U.S to a level last seen in the 1970s, the company’s data show. Coal, the most polluting fuel that was once the world’s fastest growing energy source, has been a target of countries and companies alike as the world begins to work toward the goals of the Paris climate agreement . Consumption is falling as the world’s biggest energy companies promote cleaner-burning natural gas, China’s economy evolves to focus more on services than heavy manufacturing and renewable energy like […]

Atlantic May thermal coal derivative volumes fall 55% on-year:

14 Jun 2017   Coal

May traded volumes of Atlantic market thermal coal derivatives fell 55.3% year on year to 129.55 million mt, which was up 19.9% from April’s record low, according to data from the London Energy Brokers’ Association (LEBA) Tuesday.  Of the total, 99%, or 128.67 million mt, was cleared — the largest percentage since April last year when all derivatives were cleared.  Volumes of Europe-delivered CIF ARA derivative contracts traded in May dropped 62% year on year to 97.39 million mt, although recovered 28% from the previous month’s record low. The entire quantity was cleared.  South African Richards Bay coal volumes at 8.48 million mt fell 43% year on year, but rose 9% month on month, with all the total cleared.  The data showed 23.68 million mt of Australian globalCOAL Newcastle futures contracts were traded during the month — increasing 25% year on year, but down 2% from April to a nine-month low. Of the total 96%, or 22.8 million mt, were cleared.

US utilities’ coal consumption climbs in May: EIA

7 Jun 2017   Coal, USA

Warmer weather and higher natural gas prices helped to increase utility coal burn in May, the US Energy Information Administration said Tuesday. In its latest monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook, the EIA estimated coal consumption increased by 24.4% or 9.6 million st month on month to 48.9 million st. EIA said coal accounted for 27.6% of May generation, compared with 32% from gas-fired facilities. In April, coal accounted for 25% of generation and gas 31.5%. Platts Coal Trader provides the latest prices for key benchmark coals, as well as: Daily pricing for tons and allowances for SO2 and NOx emissions The exclusive Platts OTC Broker Index, a market assessment compiled from three of the largest and most respected coal brokers What happened in yesterday’s OTC markets, and why An analysis of coal price trends in all major U.S. producing areas Details of how major coal companies are trading in the […]

The War On Coal Is Over

6 Jun 2017   Coal

The war on coal has ended. Not because the U.S. exempted itself from the Paris Climate Accord, nor because President Obama no longer sits in the Oval Office. “King Coal” lost the so-called war for a sim-ple economic reason: it’s cheaper to make electricity with domestically produced natural gas. Back in 2008, with the economy in shambles and Obama just elected, natural gas prices set record high levels. No electricity producer should have wanted to burn gas. Coal should have had the market for generation locked up. Coal prices were steady and supplies plentiful while natural gas prices were rela-tively high and quite volatile. But as gas prices plunged, inefficient gas drillers went under and the survivors developed more effi-cient ways to extract their product. They learned to operate and even expand at prices previously con-sidered too low for profitable operation. The coal mining industry had no comparable technological […]

US coal train loadings continue to drop, reach 2017 low volumes: railroads

13 May 2017   Coal, USA

Sustained declines in coal train loadings from the Powder River Basin have pushed down total US volumes to a 2017-low weekly total, Surface Transportation Board filings showed. Data filed by the four major US railroads — BSNF, CSX, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific — for the week ending May 5 showed nationwide coal loadings averaged 82.4 trains/d, down from 89.2 trains/d the previous week. US loadings were last lower the final week of 2016 at 81.1 trains/d. PRB coal loadings averaged 44.5 trains/d, down from 46.7 trains/d the previous week. PRB counts have slipped for three straight weeks and were last lower 49 weeks ago on May 27 last year at 41.4 trains/d. Central Appalachia loadings fell for the first time in five weeks as volumes dipped to 15.2 trains/d from a year-high 17.4 trains/d the prior week. Northern Appalachia coal loadings slipped to 9.5 trains/d from 9.7 trains/d, […]

Natural gas has displaced coal in the Northeast’s generation mix over the past 10 years

12 May 2017   Climate, Coal, Shale Gas

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Power Plant Operations Report The generation fuel mix of electricity in the Northeast Census division of the United States has shifted dramatically over the past 10 years. In the nine Northeast states, natural gas nearly doubled its share of the region’s total generation to 41% in 2016, up from 23% in 2006. Coal-fired generation fell from 31% to 11% of generation over the same period. Nuclear-powered generation as a share of total generation remained relatively constant near 34%. Despite more than doubling over the same period, the share of nonhydro renewables remains relatively small. Overall, total generation in the region declined by 3% between 2006 and 2016. Increased access to low-cost natural gas from the Marcellus Shale and other regional shale plays has driven the switch away from coal in the Northeast United States. Environmental policies at the federal and regional level, such as […]

Murray subsidiary to lay off 255 employees at New Future coal mine in Illinois

29 Apr 2017   Coal

A Murray Energy subsidiary has notified an Illinois state agency that it plans to lay off 255 employees in three months in a move that industry sources say would likely shut one of the company’s top producing Illinois Basin mines. American Coal, a subsidiary of St. Clairsville, Ohio-based Murray, said in a federally required WARN notice to the state’s Department of Commerce that layoffs at the New Future mine in southern Illinois would begin July 21 and are “expected to be permanent.” Murray spokesman Gary Broadbent had cited “adverse mining conditions” in a statement Wednesday announcing 122 immediate layoffs at the New Future mine. Broadbent said in a statement Friday that the mine’s longwall system remains operational and service to existing customers will not be interrupted. The state requires a WARN notice for “mass layoffs,” defined as more than two-thirds of its workforce for a company that employs 25 […]

Why Is China Funding Unsustainable Coal Projects In Pakistan?

28 Apr 2017   China, Coal, Pakistan

On April 16th, Chinese investments in Pakistan through the much-vaunted China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) were revised upwards, from $46 billion to a whopping $62 billion . The project, part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road initiative to invest in trade routes from Asia to Europe, has huge implications for Pakistan’s development prospects. As part of CPEC, Beijing plans to build new industrial parks, railways, and roads to link its Xinjiang region with Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar. But instead of giving cause for celebration, the colossal Chinese investments heading to Pakistan have sparked massive protests from locals and environmentalists. Why? Because of Beijing’s senseless decision to use part of the funds to build outdated coal power plants. Since Pakistan boasts more than 175 billion tonnes of coal (equal to Saudi Arabia’s oil deposits in terms of heating value), harnessing its energy reserves is crucial to ensure the country’s economic […]

Europe’s Coal Power Is Going up in Smoke — Fast

21 Apr 2017   Coal, Europe
Europe’s Coal Power Is Going up in Smoke — Fast

The long goodbye for coal in Europe is accelerating as the cost of shifting to green energy plunges.  Companies including Drax Group Plc, Steag GmbH to Uniper SE are closing or converting coal-burning generators at a record pace from Austria to the U.K., made obsolete by competition from cheaper wind and solar power. After more than 500 years of using the carbonaceous rock — which fueled the industrial revolution even as emissions warmed the atmosphere — the continent simply can’t afford it anymore and is moving on.  “It’s an entirely different fuel-price world,” said Johannes Truby, an analyst at the Paris-based International Energy Agency. Since 2012, the agency has cut its outlook for European Union coal use in 2030 by 12 percent and now expects just 114 gigawatts of capacity will remain by then, compared with 177 gigawatts in 2014, the latest annual data available.

Countries including the U.K., France, Portugal, Austria and Finland are phasing out coal with policies in place to end its use in power generation. Elsewhere in the world, the fossil fuel is in a life-or-death struggle because green energy produces cheaper electricity and employs more people. Even in the U.S., where President Donald Trump vowed to cut environmental standards to revive coal jobs, many plants can’t compete with abundant and low-cost natural gas.

Coal power dropping as natural gas, renewables grow, U.S. report finds

18 Apr 2017   Coal

The amount of electricity generated by coal since 2007 is down 40 percent as natural gas and renewable power capacity grows, the U.S. government reported. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in a daily brief that coal accounted for about 30 percent of all of the electricity generated in the country last year. “As natural gas and renewables have increased their market shares of electricity generation over the past decade, coal generation has decreased,” the EIA’s report read. “Average annual net generation from coal-fired units reached an annual high of 2.0 billion kilowatthours in 2007 and has since fallen to 1.2 billion kilowatthours in 2016.” Energy-related CO2 emissions last year were down 1.7 percent from 2015 levels, consistent with […]

2 Tennessee Cases Bring Coal’s Hidden Hazard to Light

17 Apr 2017   Coal

The hulking Gallatin Fossil Plant sits on a scenic bend of the Cumberland River about 30 miles upstream from Nashville. In addition to generating electricity, the plant, built in the early 1950s by the Tennessee Valley Authority, produces more than 200,000 tons of coal residue a year. That coal ash, mixed with water and sluiced into pits and ponds on the plant property, has been making its way into groundwater and the river, potentially threatening drinking water supplies, according to two current lawsuits. Coal ash, the hazardous byproduct of burning coal to produce power, is a particularly insidious legacy of the nation’s dependence on coal. Unlike the visible and heavily regulated airborne emissions from power plant smokestacks, coal ash is largely unseen unless there is a major spill and, until recently, far less effectively regulated. More than 100 million tons of coal ash is produced every […]

Weekly US coal production estimate drops to lowest level of year: EIA

14 Apr 2017   Coal

Weekly US coal production totaled an estimated 13.77 million st in the week that ended Saturday, down 5% from the prior week but up 19.9% from the same week a year ago, US Energy Information Administration data showed Thursday. It was the lowest weekly estimate so far this year, coming in just below the Week 1 estimate of 13.78 million st. Through the first 14 weeks of the year, production appears to be mirroring last year, which started with a surge at the start of the year then dipped through spring as low natural gas prices curtailed coal demand. This year, natural gas prices are higher but coal demand remains low due to more-moderate temperatures. Platts Analytics’ Bentek Energy estimates stockpiles stood at 159.6 million st as of Thursday, down 18.2% from the year-ago week and down 4.1% from the five-year average for March. Article continues below… Platts Coal […]

Donald Trump and the Myth of the Coal Revival

31 Mar 2017   Coal

The President’s latest executive order would scrap regulations critical to addressing climate change. But would it also, as he promises, put miners “back to work”? On Tuesday, less than two weeks after the White House unveiled its “budget blueprint to make America great again,” which proposed to reduce the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding by $2.6 billion and lay off about a fifth of its workforce, President Trump took aim at the E.P.A. once more. On a dais in the Map Room of the agency’s D.C. headquarters, Trump gave a celebrating “a new era in American energy,” as thirteen “incredible coal miners” stood silently at his side, like shy and stocky pageant contestants. They were the physical embodiment of this new era—white, middle-aged, clean-shaven, strong—which was about to be signed into existence with a sweeping executive order on energy and environmental policy. Mining is what they “want to do,” Trump […]

Trump Can’t Save Coal

30 Mar 2017   Coal

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday that will begin a lengthy process of dismantling former President Obama’s signature achievement on climate change – regulations that put limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Trump boasted about a new era of American energy, telling coal miners standing behind him, “You know what it says, right? You’re going back to work.” The Clean Power Plan aimed to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. But removing the Clean Power Plan is not as easy as signing an executive order. It will take years even if things go well. The EPA can’t just ignore or scrap the rule; the administration will have to craft a repayment plan and justify it with science. And the rulemaking process is not always a smooth one. With environmental groups promising legal action, it will likely […]

Policy Shift Helps Coal, but Other Forces May Limit Effect

29 Mar 2017   Coal

Many fossil fuel executives are celebrating President Trump’s move to dismantle the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. But their cheers are muted, because market forces and state initiatives continue to elevate coal’s rivals, especially natural gas and renewable energy. In coal’s favor, there is the new promise that federal lands will be open for leasing, ending an Obama-era moratorium. Easing pollution restrictions could delay the closing of some old coal-fired power plants, slowing the switch by some utilities to other sources.

Trump to offer federal coal to industry awash in reserves

29 Mar 2017   Coal

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has billed his move to re-open federal lands to new coal leases as a win for miners seeking to expand production. But a review of company filings shows that coal miners with the most to gain already have enough leases in hand to last well over a decade.  Trump will sign a decree on Tuesday to reverse former President Barack Obama’s 2016 ban on new federal coal leases, part of a wide-ranging executive order to sweep away green regulations his administration says have hobbled the drilling and mining industries.  “When we evaluate energy, let’s look at the social cost of not having a job,” Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a Twitter post on Tuesday ahead of the executive order.  But companies focused on coal deposits below federal lands, such as Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, and Cloud Peak, have enough coal in the ground on existing leases to last an average of more than 17 years at 2015 sales levels, earnings reports show.

Despite Trump Move, Utilities’ Shift From Coal Is Set to Continue

29 Mar 2017   Coal

The Trump administration’s expected move to roll back President Obama’s signature climate-change policy may extend the life of some aging coal-fired power plants, but companies and energy experts say it is unlikely to reverse the U.S. utility industry’s shift to natural gas, solar and wind as leading sources of electricity. President Donald Trump is expected Tuesday to sign an executive order that would begin to reverse the Clean Power Plan, which would have required utilities to reduce power-plant carbon-dioxide…

NEW REPORT: Global Coal Plant Development Freefall Sparks Renewed Hope On Climate Goals

24 Mar 2017   Coal

On the heels of the 250th coal-fired power plant retiring in the United States yesterday, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and CoalSwarm have released their third annual survey of the global coal plant pipeline, Boom and Bust 2017: Tracking The Global Coal Plant Pipeline . The report’s findings include a 62 percent drop in new coal plant construction starts globally, a 48 percent reduction in worldwide pre-construction activity, and an 85 percent decline in new Chinese coal plant permits. Overall, the number of coal-fired power plants under development worldwide saw a dramatic drop in 2016. This is mainly due to shifting policies in Asia, including a dramatic clampdown on new coal plant projects by Chinese central authorities and financial retrenchment by coal plant backers in India. In China and India, construction is now frozen at over 100 project sites. In addition the decline in new plant development, […]

Weekly US coal production dips 4.4% as coal demand slows

24 Mar 2017   Coal

Weekly US coal production totaled an estimated 14.1 million st in the week that ended March 18, down 4.4% compared with the prior week, but up 6.9% from the year-ago week, US Energy Information Administration data showed Thursday. Apart from the holiday-shortened week at the start of the year, the most recent estimate was the lowest so far this year. Warmer-than-normal weather has slowed demand for coal , and stockpiles remain relatively flat. Platts Analytics’ Bentek Energy unit estimates stockpiles stood at 154.8 million st in the week that ended March 16, down 0.5% compared with the previous week. Article continues below… Platts Coal Trader provides the latest prices for key benchmark coals, as well as: Daily pricing for tons and allowances for SO2 and NOx emissions The exclusive Platts OTC Broker Index, a market assessment compiled from three of the largest and most respected coal brokers What happened […]

Optimism pervades US coal industry amid fewer regulations: forum

9 Mar 2017   Coal

Optimism pervaded the coal industry Wednesday as it gathered at the American Coal Council’s Spring Coal Forum in Clearwater, Florida, as the early days of the Trump administration have brought regulatory relief for an industry struggling to regain its edge. Early signs of the Trump administration’s focus on energy-related regulations have been positive for the industry, including a bill signed last month that eliminated the Stream Protection Rule, as well as executive orders on other energy-related issues, said Michael Nasi, a partner with Jackson Walker, a Dallas-based environmental law firm. Doing nothing in terms of federal intervention would be a major change for the industry compared with the Obama administration, which issued 57 federal implement plans over eight years. The FIPs are typically reserved for extraordinary circumstances under the Clean Air Act, which attempted to give more control to the states. “If all the president does is to stop […]

China will not force big coal output cuts if prices reasonable: NDRC

7 Mar 2017   China, Coal

China will not force coal mines to cut output on a large scale if prices remain within a reasonable range, the country’s state planner said on Tuesday, the latest comments from the government on its efforts to tackle excess supplies and smog. In a statement, the National Development and Reform Commission said provincial governments and relevant agencies will decide whether to implement cutbacks at mines that are not considered “advanced”. It did not say what price range it would consider reasonable. (Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Writing by Josephine Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

Coal exports from Hampton Roads, Virginia, continue to climb in February

7 Mar 2017   Coal, USA

Coal exports from terminals in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region totaled 2.8 million st in February, up 8.2% from the prior month and up 50.7% from the year-ago month, according to export data released Monday by the Virginia Maritime Association. It was the highest monthly total since March 2015, and the fifth straight month of higher exports, as higher seaborne prices increased demand for US thermal and metallurgical coals . At the three individual terminals in Hampton Roads, Lambert’s Point, also known as Pier 6, exported 1.16 million st in February, up 0.5% from January and up 23.5% from last year. It was the also highest monthly total for the Norfolk, Virginia, terminal — which is owned and operated by Norfolk Southern — since March 2015. Article continues below… Platts Coal Trader provides the latest prices for key benchmark coals, as well as: Daily pricing for tons and allowances for […]

Early surge in coal usage in 2017 may not last

3 Mar 2017   Coal

There are signs utilities are buying more coal this year than last thanks to a late-year surge in natural gas prices, but the black rock still isn’t expected to regain its crown from gas as the leading fuel source for power generation. That’s even as President Donald Trump has said repeatedly that he wants a revival of coal production, a dirtier fuel than gas that has seen its fortunes decline thanks to a shale boom that has boosted gas production. Gas prices rose in late December, and analysts have been predicting an improved outlook for 2017 for coal, as higher gas prices make coal the cheaper fuel for some power generators, according to analysts and government studies. The Association of American Railroads (AAR) said on […]

Trump to lift federal coal ban, other green rules, next week: White House

2 Mar 2017   Coal

U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to sign an executive order next week that lifts a ban on new federal coal mining leases and starts the process of killing other Obama-era initiatives to combat global climate change, a White House official said. “Rescinding federal coal leasing moratorium is part of that executive order, which has lots of different components, including the Clean Power Plan,” the official told Reuters on Wednesday by email, confirming the order was scheduled to come next week. The Clean Power Plan is former President Barack Obama’s centerpiece initiative to combat climate change, and requires states to slash emissions of carbon dioxide. (Reporting by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Coal Industry Casts Itself as a Clean Energy Player

27 Feb 2017   Coal

President Trump has questioned the science behind climate change as “a hoax” in positioning himself as a champion of coal. The three largest American coal producers are taking a different tack. Seeking to shore up their struggling industry, the coal producers are voicing greater concern about greenhouse gas emissions. Their goal is to frame a new image for coal as a contributor, not an obstacle, to a clean-energy future — an image intended to foster their legislative agenda. Executives of the three companies — Cloud Peak Energy , Peabody Energy and Arch Coal — are going so far as to make common cause with some of their harshest critics, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Clean Air Task Force. Together, they are lobbying for a tax bill to expand government subsidies to reduce the environmental impact of coal burning. The technology they are promoting is carbon capture […]

North Korea says China ‘dancing to the tune of the US’

24 Feb 2017   China, Coal, North Korea

Coal exports to China are a key source of cash for the politically isolated nation North Koreans look over coal exports in the border town of Siniuju N Korea condemns Kim death investigation ‘Hunt’ for refugees who helped Snowden Japan ‘baldies’ hold annual get-together

Coal Is Just Too Damn Expensive

24 Feb 2017   Coal

President Trump is ready to start signing executive orders that roll back Obama-era regulations on climate and water pollution: While both directives will take time to implement, they will send an unmistakable signal that the new administration is determined to promote fossil-fuel production ….One executive order — which the Trump administration will couch as reducing U.S. dependence on other countries for energy — will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to begin rewriting the 2015 regulation that limits greenhouse-gas emissions from existing electric utilities. It also instructs the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing. ….Trump, who signed legislation last week that nullified a recent regulation prohibiting surface-mining operations from dumping waste in nearby waterways, said he was eager to support coal miners who had backed his presidential bid. “The miners are a big deal,” he said Thursday. “I’ve had support from […]