TULSA — Coal may be the country's most unpopular fuel source, but that doesn't appear to be hampering Alliance Holdings GP LP.
Alliance is a regular among the state's top companies.
This year, the holding company that owns coal company Alliance Resource Partners LP's assets ranked No. 7 on the Oklahoma Inc. list, buoyed by a 62.5 percent increase in total returns.
CEO Joseph W. Craft III said coal remains an important resource in the U.S., despite regulations seemingly meant to curb its use.
“Low-cost energy has been the driver of the U.S. economy,” he said Oct. 9 at the Governor's Energy Conference in Tulsa. “We're seeing that today all across the globe.”
He said cheap coal is one of the reasons Oklahoma has the fifth-lowest retail electricity price in the United States.
Craft said coal production is expected to reach about 1 billion tons in the United States this year, with about 90 percent of that to be used domestically.
Alliance is the sixth-largest coal producer in the nation, with a footprint primarily in the eastern U.S.
He said domestic utility companies are Alliance's primary customer, noting coal is responsible for about 40 percent of the country's electric generation.