Illinois Coal Retirements Expected
Front month natural gas closed on Thursday at $2.435/MMBtu. Natural gas storage levels increased by 84 bcf which was 9.09% higher than the 77 bcf injection expected by market analysts. With 8 weeks left in the traditional injection season, the total 2,941 bcf in storage is only 67.3% of its total capacity. The current levels are also 15% higher than last year’s level, and 2.7% below the five-year average. The five-year average storage increase for this same week is 66 bcf and last year saw a 64 bcf increase. Prices at the Transco Zone 6 hub, which services NYC, increased 11 cents from $1.79/MMBtu last Wednesday to $1.90/MMBtu this past Wednesday (EIA).
Four coal power plants in Illinois are scheduled for retirement by the end of 2019. “EIA power generation data indicate that coal generation in the state fell by 36% between 2010 and 2018. During the same period, generation by natural gas fired plants more than tripled, from 5.7 GWh in 2010 to 17 GWh in 2018, while generation by renewable sources more than doubled to 12.6 GWh in 2018” (EIA). A total of 3.7 GWh of coal capacity was retired between 2010 and 2018.