U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Electricity Monthly Update
With Data for November 2014 | Release Date: Jan. 27, 2015 | Next Release Date: Feb. 26, 2015
Electric Power Sector Coal Stocks: November 2014
In November, total U.S. coal stockpiles increased by 4%, or just over 5.5 million tons, to 142 million tons. The increase in coal stockpiles this month follows the normal pattern of building stocks during a shoulder month before winter. During Fall 2014, the magnitude of the increase, one of the largest in many years, was a welcome sign given the concern expressed this year in regards to low stockpile levels. In the Midwest, stockpiles at many coal-fired generators were rapidly depleted last winter as a result of increased electricity demand and rail delivery problems. This caused some power plant operators to take conservation measures by lowering output or idling units, buying replacement power on the wholesale market, and re-routing deliveries from one plant to another in order to manage stockpiles. Railroad operator BNSF has also been called on to increase coal deliveries to power plants, as this problem has centered on subbituminous coal deliveries from the Powder River Basin across BNSF rail lines.
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. The total days of burn at bituminous units decreased from the previous month, going from 78 days in October to 76 days in November. The days of burn at subbituminous units increased from 49 to 51 days of burn, on average, though these numbers remain below last November. The percentage of bituminous and subbituminous coal-fired capacity having less than 30 days of burn fell from 12.5% to 11% and the capacity with 30 to 60 days of burn increased from just under 39% to just above 40% in November.
Coal stocks and average number of days of burn for non-lignite coal by region (electric power sector)
|November 2014||November 2013||October 2014|
|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|
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.