Analysis Group Senior Advisor Susan Tierney Issues Report on the US Coal Industry in the 21st Century

September 26, 2016

Until about 2000, the US coal industry gave every appearance of doing reasonably well. Coal production had risen almost every year over the past four decades. Coal-mining productivity continued to improve dramatically. Coal prices remained relatively low, helping to sustain coal's status as the electric utilities' preferred fuel for power production and giving coal a 50 percent share of the nation's power supply.

In the 16 years since then, all of that has changed. Productivity has eroded. Coal has lost its price advantage in the face of sustained low prices for natural gas, falling prices for renewables, and flat demand for power. And the industry itself made unwise investments that have contributed to a slew of bankruptcies by major coal producers. In “The U.S. Coal Industry: Challenging Transitions in the 21st Century,” an independent report commissioned by the Environmental Defense Fund, Analysis Group Senior Advisor Susan Tierney provides a descriptive overview of these trends – and their impact – on the US coal industry and the nation's energy sector as a whole.

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