Historic Lows in 2015 Projected for U.S. Coal Consumption

Posted October 30, 2015 at 5:21am

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that “mining firms predicted U.S. coal consumption will fall to new lows in 2015, as cheap natural gas prices continue to batter the sector.”

“Those projections were unveiled Tuesday as two major coal miners released their earnings reports for the third quarter. Peabody Energy, America’s largest coal miner, announced a $304 million loss. Cloud Peak Energy reported an $8.9 million profit for the three months between July and September, outpacing Wall Street’s projections. But even there the positive news was tempered. Cloud Peak was $48.7 million in the red through the first three quarters of 2015.”

“The reports underscored the depths of the downturn shaking the foundation of the industry. By Peabody’s estimate, coal is expected to account for 35 percent of American electricity generation in 2015. That’s down from roughly 39 percent last year and 50 percent a decade ago, said Robert Godby, an economics professor who studies power markets at the University of Wyoming.”