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Electricity Monthly Update

With Data for April 2015  |  Release Date: June 25, 2015  |  Next Release Date: July 24, 2015

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Electric Power Sector Coal Stocks: April 2015

 



In April, U.S. coal stockpiles increased to 168 million tons, up 8% from the previous month. This large increase in March-to-April coal stockpiles follows the normal spring pattern where coal stockpiles are usually built up for use in the summer months. The spring build-up of coal stock piles started early this year, as the country experienced significantly above-average temperatures during the previous month, which led to a decreased demand for heating during March 2015 and thus, a decreased need for electricity generation. Coal has also lost market share to natural gas in all regions of the country.

Days of burn




The average number of days of burn held at electric power plants is a forward-looking estimate of coal supply given a power plant's current stockpile and past consumption patterns. For bituminous units largely located in the eastern United States, the average number of days of burn declined from 78 days to 76 days of forward-looking days of burn estimates. For subbituminous units largely located in the western United States, the average number of days of burn decreased, going from 79 days in March to 77 days in April. The percentage of bituminous and subbituminous coal-fired capacity having less than 30 days of burn decreased in April to 5.6% from 7.9% in March. This is a much lower percentage than last April, however, when over 13% of units had less than 30 days of burn.

Coal stocks and average number of days of burn for non-lignite coal by region (electric power sector)

  April 2015   April 2014   March 2015  
Zone Coal Stocks (1000 tons) Days of Burn   Stocks (1000 tons) Days of Burn % Change of Stocks Stocks (1000 tons) Days of Burn % Change of Stocks
Northeast Bituminous 6,085 81   4,078 53 49.2% 5,636 84 8.0%
  Subbituminous 795 262   333 69 138.7% 727 266 9.2%
South Bituminous 33,827 76   29,054 63 16.4% 30,881 79 9.5%
  Subbituminous 6,927 79   5,344 55 29.6% 6,179 77 12.1%
Midwest Bituminous 14,853 73   11,545 58 28.7% 13,719 73 8.3%
  Subbituminous 39,109 70   28,390 51 37.8% 35,475 71 10.2%
West Bituminous 6,458 75   6,171 72 4.7% 5,949 76 8.6%
  Subbituminous 34,745 86   22,421 57 55.0% 32,765 90 6.0%
U.S. Total Bituminous 61,223 76   50,849 62 20.4% 56,185 78 9.0%
  Subbituminous 81,575 77   56,488 53 44.4% 75,146 79 8.6%

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

NOTE: Stockpile levels shown above reflect a sample of electric power sector plants, which were used to create the days of burn statistics. These levels will not equal total electric power sector stockpile levels.

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