U.S. Coal Consumption Has Fallen To Its Lowest Level Since 1979

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"The metals, mining, and steel sector is off to a rocky start this year with four defaults" (via Axios)

According to Axios, the default of Murray Energy, an Ohio coal company, brought the total of global corporate failures up to 27, 19 of which were U.S. companies and 4 of which dealt with metals and mining.

"The metals, mining, and steel sector is off to a rocky start this year with four defaults, already surpassing last year's full-year tally of three," Diane Vazza, head of S&P Global Fixed Income Research, said. "Two of the four defaulters in the sector are U.S. coal producers."

The U.S. is expecting dozens of coal plants to close this year, including the Navajo Generating Station which provides power to Arizona, Nevada, and California.

This is a theme in the coal industry. In 2010, 45% of U.S. electricity generation was provided by coal-fired power-plants. By this past September, the number of coal plants had dropped by 200, and they provided only 30% of the electricity in the U.S. In the next five years, many more plants will close down. In December, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said that they expect 2018 U.S. coal consumption to reach the lowest levels since 1979.

Paul Browning, CEO and president of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems America said: "There is really nothing happening from a new coal power plant power point of view in the Americas. New coal-fired generation is really in decline and it's a sectoral decline, not cyclical. It's driven principally by climate change concerns and natural gas and renewables becoming more affordable."