1. Coal shifts to seasonal load
- Coal continues to decline in competitiveness, with over 95 GW of capacity having shut down in the past decade. Coal used to make up more than half of U.S. generation; that figure is down below 25 percent now.
- While 200 GW remain, those plants are now utilized less and less. During the “shoulder months” of spring and fall, when electricity demand is down, coal plants have utilization rates of under 50 percent. During summer and winter, they are used at more than 60 percent capacity.
- In April and May 2020, coal plants had a capacity factor of less than 30 percent. “As a result, coal plants sometimes assert that they are unable to operate for enough hours to produce enough annual revenue to cover costs,” the EIA said in a report.
- Coal plants are now “evaluating plans to run plants on a seasonal basis,” the agency said. In other words, they would only operate in summer and winter, and not spring and fall.
- “The expectation is that completely shutting down plants when electricity demand is low will limit financial losses,” the EIA said.
2. Positive manufacturing data boosts oil
- U.S. manufacturing data in August expanded to 56.0, according to the Institute for Supply Management. Anything above 50.0 indicates expansion; below that level indicates contraction.
- That was the highest reading since November 2018, although it’s…