Coal production from mountaintop removal (MTR) has decreased by 62 percent since 2008, according to report released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Total U.S. coal production decreased about 15 percent from 2008 to 2014.
Lower demand for U.S. coal, primarily used to generate electric power, driven by competitive natural gas prices, increasing use of renewable generation, flat electricity demand, and environmental regulations, has contributed to lower U.S. coal production. On Monday, LG&E and KU’s new natural gas combined-cycle generating unit – the first in Kentucky – went online.
MTR is prevalent mostly in Central Appalachia, specifically West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, and, in the past, Tennessee.
In order to conduct MTR operations, a permit must be granted. By identifying the mines that have MTR permits, it is possible to estimate MTR production using mine production data, according to the report.