Thursday, July 17, 2014

New Hampshire Power Plant Turns to Russia for Coal Shipment

A driver loads a truck with coking coal during mining operations at the Neryungrinsky mine in Neryungri, Russia. Russian coal is valued by power producers because it’s low in sulfur, enabling plants that haven’t installed equipment to minimize emissions to use the cheaper fuel. (Credit: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg) Click to enlarge.
When New Hampshire’s largest utility needed to rebuild coal supplies after the past frigid winter, it turned to Russia rather than Appalachia in the U.S. Northeast or Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.

The Doric Victory, a bulk carrier the length of two football fields, transported the fuel almost 4,000 miles (6,436 kilometers) from Riga, Latvia, last month to Public Service of New Hampshire’s Schiller power plant in Portsmouth, a 150-megawatt facility that’s produced electricity since 1952.

Utilities in the U.S. are scrambling for coal, on pace to increase imports 26 percent this year, as railroad bottlenecks slow deliveries and electricity demand climbs with an improving economy. Russia, the world’s third-largest exporter of the fuel, will boost shipments 3.9 percent to 106 million metric tons this year, IHS Energy forecasts, part of President Vladimir Putin’s plan to expand Russia’s role in the global coal market.

“Everyone’s aware that a number of plants have low stockpiles, so you hear Russian coal and they say, ‘Oh wow, people must really be desperate,’” James Stevenson, Houston-based director of North American coal at IHS, said in a July 8 telephone interview.

New Hampshire Power Plant Turns to Russia for Coal Shipment


  1. The USA has a 400 YEAR supply of coal, unemployed coal miners, and THIS happens. Guess why.

    1. It happened because some coal generating power plants find they can get better quality, cleaner burning coking coal from Mechel cheaper than they can get poorer quality more polluting and more expensive coal from US suppliers. This serves them is 2 ways: (1) They don't have to worry about EPA issues and the concurrent smokestack requirements and (2) they are buying the product cheaper, which is the capitalist way. (Right?)

      However, coal producers in the US are also shipping their coal at a greater volume to China and India, who are now just beginning to worry about being the 2 most polluted countries in the world. You can read a bit more about it here:

      Mechel Rebound Fleeting to BCS as Coal Prices Fall - Bloomberg