July 2, 2018 Read More →

Coal plant retirements undercut Trump bailout plans

Clean Technica:

President Trump has publicly made quite a few comments about bringing coal jobs back, but his verbiage isn’t making much of a dent in the declining coal industry. In fact, a very large number of American coal power plants will be closing in 2018.

“The real story I believe is in coal retirements. [T]he fundamentals of the economics of coal have gotten worse, with costs going up, while the competition for coal — that is, gas, wind and solar — has all gotten cheaper,” said Bruce Hamilton, a director at Navigant.

Natural gas costs less than coal, solar power is at its most affordable, wind power can be more affordable than new coal, and energy storage is emerging to support renewables.

“Coal jobs aren’t coming back, due to market forces, not due to regulation. Natural gas is cheaper and more plentiful,” explained James Van Nostrand, director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at West Virginia University College of Law.

To make matters worse, the President seems to be very uninformed about the coal industry. “Trump claims West Virginia is exporting “clean coal” to China. But this is wrong for two reasons. One, in 2015 and 2016, West Virginia exported virtually no coal to China. Two, there is no such thing as “clean coal.”

More: Coal power plants retiring quickly during Trump administration

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