U.S. coal stockpiles above average 11 straight months - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

U.S. coal stockpiles above average 11 straight months

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • UPDATE: All Northbound lanes open on I-77 at East River Mountain Tunnel

    UPDATE: All Northbound lanes open on I-77 at East River Mountain Tunnel

    Saturday, July 26 2014 6:42 PM EDT2014-07-26 22:42:00 GMT
    All northbound lanes are back open after a tractor trailer that caught fire inside the East River Mountain Tunnel on Friday. It happened in the northbound lanes of the tunnel that divides Mercer and Bland around 2:00 Friday afternoon.
    All northbound lanes are back open after a tractor trailer that caught fire inside the East River Mountain Tunnel on Friday. It happened in the northbound lanes of the tunnel that divides Mercer and Bland around 2:00 Friday afternoon.
  • Sistersville Woman Crowned Mrs. West Virginia, Will Compete for National Title

    Sistersville Woman Crowned Mrs. West Virginia, Will Compete for National Title

    Tuesday, July 15 2014 4:17 AM EDT2014-07-15 08:17:38 GMT
    A Sistersville mother, wife, and soon-to-be teacher, holds another very impressive title as she gets ready to take on the competition on a national stage.Mrs. West Virginia, Melissa Smith, will compete for the title of "Mrs.United States," in September. Smith travels throughout the state right now helping to push her platform. "Right now, I'm very focused on improving literacy education. I'm going to be an elementary school teacher and I have been traveling throughout West Virginia reading to...
    A Sistersville mother, wife, and soon-to-be teacher, holds another very impressive title as she gets ready to take on the competition on a national stage.Mrs. West Virginia, Melissa Smith, will compete for the title of "Mrs.United States," in September. Smith travels throughout the state right now helping to push her platform. "Right now, I'm very focused on improving literacy education. I'm going to be an elementary school teacher and I have been traveling throughout West Virginia reading to...
  • Federal judge in Martinsburg, West Virginia, sends 10 to prison for violating probation

    Federal judge in Martinsburg, West Virginia, sends 10 to prison for violating probation

    Sunday, July 6 2014 11:00 AM EDT2014-07-06 15:00:12 GMT
    Nine Martinsburg, West Virginia, residents and another from Keyser were sentenced to federal prison for breaking the law while they were on supervised release or probation.
    Nine Martinsburg, West Virginia, residents and another from Keyser were sentenced to federal prison for breaking the law while they were on supervised release or probation.

A few cold days this winter haven't been enough to drive up demand for coal.

Electric utilities typically try to keep at least a 60-day supply of coal on hand. Because coal is purchased through long-term contracts, when less coal is burned stockpiles accumulate beyond targeted amounts.

According to the Energy Information Administration, coal stockpiles have now been above average in the U.S. for an 11 straight months as of this past November.

"Increased competition between fuels as well as a warm winter 2011-12 led to lower consumption of coal and, thus, higher coal stockpiles at electric power plants in the United States through November 2012," the EIA wrote in its Today in Energy blog.

When summers are cooler than average, less coal is also burned and can result in a similar sales challenge.

"Historically low natural gas prices contributed to reduced coal consumption at electric power plants during the spring and summer of 2012, while a warmer-than-normal winter 2011-12 decreased the overall heating load in the winter," the EIA states.

When coal stockpiles mount, utilities are likely to purchase less coal on future contracts. Coal companies could respond by lowering production.

"Because long-term contracts often have penalties associated with deferring shipments of coal, power plants are faced with few options other than continuing to accept deliveries," EIA states. "As the long-term contracts for coal purchases expire, electric utilities may choose to lower future purchases, given the high inventory levels."

For more information or to see graphics produced by the EIA, visit: http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=9711&src=email