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Upcoming, Recent Coal-fired Power Unit Retirements

Retirements-2Nearly 23,000 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired generating capacity was retired in the United States from 2009 to March 2014, and that number is already on track to more than double between the remainder of 2014 and 2022, according to an updated SNL Energy analysis of coal retirements. After hitting a peak of more than 9,000 MW in 2012, retirements of U.S. coal units slowed a bit in 2013, with SNL Energy data showing that about 6,300 MW was shuttered in 2013. The PJM Interconnection again took the brunt of the retirements, seeing roughly 2,707 MW of coal capacity retire in 2013. Of the 22,778 MW of coal capacity that retired from 2009 to 2013, nearly 10,200 MW was located in PJM.

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SNL Energy Notes Strong Pricing, Production Slowdown in March Coal Forecast

PBR forward prices 2/28/2014By Jesse Gilbert and Steve Piper

Coal markets moved up solidly during February amid signs of depleted generator inventories and competitive dispatch against natural gas. Natural gas pricing, despite significant volatility, appears likely to support steady coal demand into the shoulder season. Upward price movement was broad, with the NYMEX CAPP prompt-month benchmark gaining nearly 7%, or $4/ton, in February, and NYMEX PRB gaining $0.30/ton, or 2.5%. Higher-Btu Central Appalachian (CAPP) markers added $1/ton to $2/ton, while physical prompt-month markers for Northern Appalachia (NAPP) and Illinois Basin (IB) showed modest gains.

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Power and Gas Prices Plummet, as Coal Prices Continue to Decline

By Garrett Devine, SNL Energy

As the polar vortex froze much of the U.S. at the beginning of 2014, the period of intense cold created demand, supply and transportations factors that led to the highest prices for power and spot gas seen over the past five years. After the spike in both power and gas prices, moderate conditions followed throughout the rest of the year and prices dropped accordingly.

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Coal Generation Dipped Nearly 12% in 2012 as Gas, Wind, Solar Gained

The fuel mix for power generation in the United States continues to evolve away from coal, which has historically been the largest source for electricity production. While natural gas has been eating into coal’s market share, net generation from wind and solar also has increased, according to an SNL Energy analysis of the most recently available U.S. Energy Information Administration and FERC annual data on fuel burn and net generation.

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