Energy numbers show coal futures price below $50/ton; gas below $4

The Nymex futures price for January delivery of Central Appalachian coal has dropped below $50/ton to $48.98, according to data posted Dec. 19 by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The figure reflects a price for coal with a minimum 12,000 Btu/pound.

The same set of EIA figures also reports that the futures price for January delivery of Henry Hub natural gas of $3.64/mmBtu.

The spot gas price was $3.70/mmBtu on Dec. 17, which is four cents less than it was one week earlier and almost 59 cents less than one year earlier, according to EIA figures.

Natural gas inventories on Dec. 12 were listed at 3,295 Bcf, which is 6 Bcf more than a year earlier.

Meanwhile spot power prices remained relatively cheap on Dec. 19. The highest spot power price in the nation was $50.77/MWh in New England, according to EIA. But New England was the only one of the 10 regions tracked by EIA with a spot price above $50/MWh. Six of the 10 regions had spot power prices of less than $40/MWh.

When it comes to baseload nuclear energy, 98 of the nation’s 100 commercial reactor units are generating at some electricity. Only two were listed at “zero” generation, according to a Dec. 19 daily report from the Nuclear Regulation Commission (NRC).

EIA also posted an analysis Dec. 19 showing that power sector employment fell by more than 5,800 jobs during the last three years. That’s despite a gain of nearly 1,800 non-hydro renewable electricity generation jobs.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.