Texas’ Outsize Role in the Decline of the Powder River Basin Coal Industry

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by the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, August 2016

This report highlights the steep decline of U.S coal demand, particularly in the state of Texas, and links it to the recent bankruptcies of several major U.S coal companies.

Out of any state in the U.S, Texas burns the most coal. Although Texas maintained a fairly steady average of 102 million tons of thermal coal consumed annually from 2010 through 2014, its consumption dropped to 87 million tons in 2015, a 13.5 percent year over year drop.

Texas consumption will probably continue to decline in 2016. This decline is part of a larger national trend in which coal fired power has lost a significant share of the U.S. electricity generation market over the past decade, going from 51 percent in 2007 to 33 percent today. This pattern is likely to persist over the next decade, with coal fired generation falling to 20 percent. The dramatic drops in demand coincide with the bankruptcies of several major American coal companies including Peabody Energy. This report is a clear indication that the time of coal is swiftly nearing its end.

Download the full report here.