Welcome to Coal Miner Exchange

Weekly Email Blasts
Monday/Friday - CoalZoom and Wednesday - Coal Miner Exchange


  New Plans to Save Coal Jobs: Teeny, Tiny Coal Power Plants

The Trump administration has made a few stabs at stemming the tide of coal power plant closures in the U.S., and none have come to fruition. Now it looks like they’re just plain giving up. The new idea is to downsize coal power plants and shoehorn them into the modern grid of the future alongside renewable energy.

That’s going to be a tough row to hoe. Small scale, decentralized power is already at hand in the form of wind and solar power. New wind-solar hybrids and energy storage will also be competing against this ambitious new breed of coal power plants for space on the grid. 

Why Tiny New Coal Power Plants? DERS!

The U.S. Department of Energy has committed a $100 million R&D initiative for new technology to support a new generation of small scaled coal power plants, so this is a thing that is happening.

Basically, the Energy Department has recognized that the old model of a grid based on large, centralized power plants is, well, old.

To take its place, the Energy Department envisions a modern, 21st century grid model that leans on  distributed energy resources, aka DERS, for reliability and resilience.

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

CoalZoom.com - Your Foremost Source for Coal News  


A Boost for Powder River Basin Coal Comes From an Unexpected Source

For years, Powder River Basin (PRB) coal has been a cornerstone of Peabody Energy's and Arch Coal's portfolio. Those are two of the largest coal companies in the U.S. Vic Svec, senior vice president, global investor and corporate relations for Peabody Energy, said that's getting tougher.

"What we see in our continued power plant retirements in the U.S. and Europe is that trend is nothing new and we would expect that to continue," Svec said.

Thermal coal production in the PRB is down: about 20 percent in 2017 from five years before, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Infographic of relevant data

Credit Cooper McKim

Natural gas and renewables are becoming cheaper to use while coal-fired power plants retire in greater numbers. Peabody's revenue for PRB coal decreased last year by nearly 10 percent; for Arch coal, down 20 percent from the year before. An analyst in a recent investor report from Moody's Investor Service called the PRB the weakest coal basin today, but a different part of the two companies' portfolios has helped pick up the slack.

"Certainly the last couple of years metallurgical coal has been a standout from an earnings contributor and a margin percentage basis," Svec said.

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

CoalZoom.com - Your Foremost Source for Coal News 


CEDAR Holds Coal Fair at Chief Logan Lodge

The Coal Education Development and Resource, or CEDAR, of Southern West Virginia Inc. held their annual regional coal fair at the Chief Logan Lodge and Conference Center this past week.

Numerous student winners in this year's CEDAR coal fair are pictured following the awards banquet Friday evening. 

Photo by Dylan Vidovich, Logan Banner

Now in its 18th year, the fair invites students in several counties, including Logan, Mingo, Boone, Wyoming, McDowell and Wayne, to enter coal-themed projects in one of seven categories: science, math, English-literature, art, music, multimedia technology or social studies. Students are judged in grade levels of K-4, 5-8 and 9-12, and three winners are selected in each grade level in each category.

The projects are judged by individuals from outside the counties to prevent bias. One judge this year came from as far as St. Louis, Missouri.

The displays of student projects could be viewed all week at the Chief Logan Lodge and Conference Center, and various events surrounding the projects were held each day. On Friday night, the students, along with parents, teachers, school administration officials and Logan County Schools Superintendent Patricia Lucas and Assistant Superintendent Darlene Dingess-Adkins, were treated to an awards banquet, in which winners were recognized and given cash prizes for their achievements.

Another special individual in attendance at Friday's banquet was Janice Martin, who serves as the assistant inspector at large of Region II of the West Virginia Office of Miners' Health Safety and Training in Welch. Born in the twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies, Martin came to McDowell County in 1972 and has led a long career in the trade industry, including working as a coal miner for U.S. Steel in Gary, West Virginia, driving tractor-trailers across the country, becoming a certified welder and obtaining an engineering degree.

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

CoalZoom.com - Your Foremost Source for Coal News


 West Virginia Coal Industry Looking to Recover After Decade of Production Downturn

While much of the focus has shifted to West Virginia’s oil and gas industry in recent years, industry experts say coal still plays a big role in the Mountain State.

The industry reached a production peak in 2008, when nearly 158 million short tons were mined. Over the next decade, production levels slowed until reaching a 40-year low of just 80 million short tons in 2016.

According to Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, the industry is in the process of trying to recover.

Bill Raney

“We’re on the rebound from 2016, which was our lowest point,” he said. “In 2017, we picked up around 10 to 12 million tons and then picked up another 8 to 10 million the next year. At the end of 2018, we had produced right around 100 million tons.”

There are about 14,000 full-time coal miners working in West Virginia who are supported by around 35,000 contractors, Raney said.

Coal is mined in 26 of the state’s 55 counties, Raney said.

“In many of those counties, (coal) is probably the largest private investment that is made in the county,” he said. “And they are probably the largest employer, not by (workforce) numbers, but by payroll.”

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

CoalZoom.com - Your Foremost Source for Coal News


Department of Energy Announces $100M in Investments in Coal FIRST

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today investments for the Coal FIRST (Flexible, Innovative, Resilient, Small, and Transformative) initiative, which aims to develop coal plants of the future that will provide secure, stable, reliable power with near zero emissions. 

“Coal is an abundant, affordable, resilient, and reliable energy source that, through innovation, will continue to be an important part of the U.S. portfolio for decades to come,” said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “The Department’s Coal FIRST initiative is helping the Nation secure its domestic power supply by developing plants that are not only more reliable, resilient, efficient, and near zero emissions, but that can adapt to the changing electrical grid.”

Under the Coal FIRST initiative, DOE is supporting research and development (R&D) projects that will help develop plants that:

  • Are capable of flexible operations to meet the needs of the grid
  • Use innovative and cutting-edge components that enable improved efficiency and have near zero emissions with carbon dioxide (CO2) capture
  • Provide resilient power to Americans; are small compared to today’s conventional utility-scale coal
  • Be small compared to today’s conventional utility-scale coal
  • Transform how coal power plant technologies are designed and manufactured. 

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

CoalZoom.com - Your Foremost Source for Coal News 


Major Coal Companies