January 5, 2018 Read More →

Export-Led Coal Uptick Is Not Going To Last

Vox:

President Donald Trump came into office making extravagant promises to coal miners. He would put them back to work and get coal-fired power plants humming again. How’s he doing so far?

The research outfit Rhodium Group has just released a helpful snapshot, in the form of a research note on U.S. coal’s performance in 2017. To summarize: Coal production was up, barely, over 2016, but it had nothing to do with Trump or federal policy and produced few new jobs.

Trump has done nothing to revive America’s dwindling appetite for coal. U.S. consumption continued its steady decline. The reasons are familiar by now: cheap natural gas, cheap renewables, stagnant electricity demand, and old coal plants getting outcompeted on the market.

So why was production slightly up, 6 percent over 2016? The answer is exports. This year, Asian coal demand, especially for steel production, made something of a recovery, while China and Australia reduced export volumes. The result was a 70 percent jump in US coal exports over 2016:

This has meant a temporary shot in the arm for the industry…but it is not a long-term plan. Asian coal demand has also entered an era of decline. More importantly, the bump in exports is unlikely to revive coal employment in the U.S., or reverse its long-term decline.

More: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/1/4/16848650/trump-coal-industry-2017

Comments are closed.