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Mining Association Skeptical Of Study That Says Only 1 Coal Plant In U.S. Operates Cheaper Than Wind/Solar

A new study has found that the Dry Fork Station power plant near Gillette is the only coal plant of 210 in the United States that operates cheaper than replacing it with new wind and solar plants. 

That’s after factoring in all the tax credits renewable energy gets from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). 


Dryfork Station, Babock & Wilcox

Grain Of Salt

The study by Energy Innovation, a climate policy think tank, relies on levelized costs of energy (LCOE) for its comparisons, which doesn’t factor in costs associated with the intermittency of wind and solar, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). 

The EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook shows that direct comparisons of technologies using LCEO is “problematic and misleading as a method to assess the economic competitiveness of various generation alternatives.” 

Travis Deti, executive director of the Wyoming Mining Association, told Cowboy State Daily that people should be skeptical of renewable energy studies that don’t factor in the costs of maintaining reliability on the grid.

“When you do studies like that, you have to take them with a grain of salt,” Deti said. 

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Alliance Resource Sees Demand for Coal Firming in 2023 -- Energy Comment

Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. said international demand for coal is expected to firm this year as geopolitical actions impact the market.

Joseph W. Craft III, the company's chairman, president and chief executive, said "coal prices remain elevated in anticipation of international demand firming throughout the year as China's economy reopens and as European markets look to replace 40 million tons of Russian coal imports received last year but unavailable this year."

Joe Craft

The company said about 94% of its 2023 expected coal sales volumes are committed and priced above 2022 per ton levels.

To continue reading, click here to view the full article on CoalZoom.com.

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PJM Details December Power Failure to Committee

The winter storm of Dec. 23-25 produced unexpectedly high demand for electricity. Despite the surprise, PJM , the 13-state power grid organization – thought it had plenty of reserve on hand.

But the power suppliers failed to deliver, leading to forced outages. Natural gas accounted for just over 70% of the short supply.

Representatives from PJM, FirstEnergy and Appalachian Power (AEP) explained the problem to state senators on Thursday.

Right now, PJM Vice President for State Policy and Member Services Asim Haque told the senators, PJM has called on its members for details on the failure and plans to have a report with answers ready by mid-April.

Asim Haque

Members of the Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee listened to the representatives and grilled them.

PJM is the regional transmission organization spanning 13 states (including West Virginia) and Washington, D.C.

“We do our best to prepare for the winter,” Haque said. Anticipating Winter Storm Elliott, PJM issued cold weather alerts to its members Starting on Dec. 20, ensuring they had freeze protections in place and sufficient fuel.

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West Virginia Treasurer Doubles Down on Anti-ESG Stance in Proxy Reforms

West Virginia state treasurer Riley Moore has proposed a proxy voting reform bill for for state investments to ensure that proxy votes are based on the financial interests of pension makers and taxpayers, rather than ESG factors. Moore said: “West Virginia needs to take back control of its shareholder voting rights to ensure our public funds are not being used to advance social and political agendas that go against the financial interests of our pensioners and taxpayers.”

Riley Moore

He added: “With the Biden administration and Wall Street activists increasing the use of ESG with retirement investments to advance their woke agendas, it’s critical for states to use our power in the marketplace to stand up for our citizens’ financial security.”

US SIF has launched the Congressional sustainable investment caucus, a resource on sustainable investing, the use of ESG criteria and the relevance of the practice to congressional policy. It will be led by representatives Juan Vargas and Sean Casten. The caucus will seek to educate members of Congress on the market-driven benefits of sustainable investing, as well as informing policymaking that provides investor protection and market transparency. It will support federal agencies to advance proposals and regulations which recognise the importance of using ESG criteria in the investment process through regular events and discussions. It has also been endorsed by New York City Comptroller Brad Lander and Ceres.

Make My Money Matter and a group of celebrities, politicians and NGOs have written to UK retail banks calling on them to stop financing fossil fuel expansion. The banks include HSBC, Barclays, Santander, NatWest and Lloyds, which collectively provided $16 billion in finance to the 50 top oil and gas expanders, according to data from ShareAction. The letter demands that the banks stop directly financing new fossil fuel activity, put existing clients on notice to stop their expansion plans and end relationships with clients who do not stop fossil fuel expansion. Both Lloyds and HSBC have publicly committed to stop direct financing of new oil, coal and gas expansion.

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U.S. Coal is Backstopping European Energy Security

The worst fears of an out-of-control energy crisis in Europe this winter appear not to be coming to fruition, and coal power and U.S. imports have played a significant role in shoring up European energy supplies and getting our allies through the storm.

Coal has been particularly important for Germany. Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany relied on Russia for 55% of its natural gas supply and 40% of its coal supply. Replacing that much energy – particularly Russian gas – has meant an all-hands-on-deck approach.

Germany has ramped up its use of coal, bringing mothballed plants back online and delaying retirement dates for others. German coal consumption has hit a six-year high and coal imports are expected to continue to rise. Even as natural gas prices have moderated, coal remains essential to checking German electricity prices and filling the sometimes-yawning gaps left by renewable energy during uncooperative weather. During one windless streak in November, coal generation met more than 40% of Germany’s power demand.

Germany’s pivot back to coal appears to have legs. Guillaume Perret, principal at a leading energy consultancy, told Bloomberg, “Coal is coming back as a baseload generator. We think it will be less seasonal than it has been – with more coal-burning in summer, spring and autumn, as long as coal remains so much in the money versus gas and there remains a gas shortage.”

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