Through the past century, coal has been a dependable and affordable fuel source for much of the world. However, coal’s position on top of the fuel chain has been eroding for more than a decade, losing ground to natural gas and renewable energy sources. The COVID-19 crisis has only made matters worse for the sector.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) released a report in May that found that the pandemic has set in motion the largest drop in global energy investment in history with spending expected to plunge in every major sector this year. Moody’s Investors Services released a more dire outlook for the coal sector and predicted earnings for North American coal miners may plunge by more than 50 percent in 2020. This all comes as the industry continues to struggle with shrinking demand in the United States as utilities retire coal-fired power plants and turn to natural gas and renewable energy solutions.