Coal production expected to decline in West Virginia Nov. 03, 2014 @ 11:24 PM The Herald-Dispatch HUNTINGTON West Virginia coal production is expected to drop about 10 percent by 2020, according to the new West Virginia Consensus Coal Production Forecast. The state’s production is expected decline three to eight million tons each year of the forecast period due to plant retirements and increasing competition from natural gas, renewables and coals from other areas. “The near-term consensus is that West Virginia will produce 101 to 102 million tons of coal in 2020, a decline of ten percent from 2013 production,” said Christine Risch, director of Resource and Energy Economics at Marshall University’s Center for Business and Economic Research. “Production declines through 2030 are projected to be slower, with 96.5 million tons forecast for that year.” The forecast is used to establish the per ton production tax necessary to sustain the reclamation obligations of the Special Reclamation Fund and the Special Reclamation Water Trust Fund. “The analysis looked at trends in the main market segments for coal domestic power generation, industrial demand and exports to identify important market conditions that will influence future demand for West Virginia coal,” Dr. Jennifer Shand, CBER director, said in the release. CBER provides economic research to public, private and non-profit sectors, specializing in the areas of energy, policy, education and health.