EIA: Coal stockpiles at power plants expected to rebuild

Although coal stockpiles experienced a steep drawdown this winter, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said the stockpile levels should improve before the demand season this summer.

Coal stockpiles fell 24 percent between November 2013 and February 2014, ending at the lowest level since March 2006. Although a major reason was increased electricity demand because of colder than normal weather, the EIA reported. Total U.S. net electricity generation was 5.3 percent higher this winter, with 59 percent of the increase supplied by coal generation.

The EIA reported that coal deliveries by rail were also lower than normal, with total railcar loadings 9 percent to 15 percent below the five-year average levels from November 2013 to February 2014. However, coal railcar loadings have increased since then, the EIA reported.

The EIA stated that although coal stockpiles should improve, isolated problems are always possible.

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