Coal Rallied in 2017, and Began to Confront the Challenges that Remain Ahead
The Energy Journal newsletter is on hiatus this week to allow the energy reporter a holiday vacation.
As Wyoming enters a new year, here’s a round up of some of the most interesting coal stories of 2017. The newsletter will be back next week, with a podcast about the oil and gas fields around Douglas that people are watching with hope and trepidation in the coming year.
A year in Wyoming coal
Early last year, the Energy Information Administration reported that without the Clean Power Plan, and dependent on some other factors, Wyoming coal could return to pre-bust norms by 2030.
Coal certainly rallied in 2017, particularly for the post-bankruptcy companies like Peabody who were operating without the debt load of the previous years.
A fraction of the lost mining jobs returned and reports of renewed industry discipline improved confidence in the sectors ability to weather the continuing risk to Wyoming coal. A year after layoffs, the Campbell County region was showing signs of relief and optimism.
Good news for coal came from federal decision after the election of President Donald Trump.
The EPA began its dismantling of the controversial Clean Power Plan.
Meanwhile the Trump Administration repealed the coal moratorium that many had fought in Wyoming, despite the market declines that have depressed new leasing attempts from Powder River Basin coal firms.
But coal’s other concerns have been dragged front and center despite the rally. With the federal walk back on regulations that were often referred to as a war on coal, challenges like retiring coal plants became more pressing concerns.
Companies say the plant closures, and the continual competition offered by cheap natural gas, are real troubles, but are accounted for in their business plans. Coal can still compete, they argue, in the new normal of coal that settled over the PRB in 2017.
See the article here.
- On January 16, 2018