December 6, 2018 Read More →

Markets continue to prevail over U.S. coal industry

Marketplace:

We begin on this Wednesday with some energy news, the subtext of which is market is gonna do what the market wants to do. We are talking coal specifically here, and some new numbers from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showing coal consumption this economy is on track to hit a near 40-year low. That’s despite President Trump’s winning campaign promise to save the American coal industry by rolling back environmental regulations and therefore making it easier for mines and power plants to do business. There are some new rules and updates coming out from the Environmental Protection Administration this week, we are told, to continue on that deregulatory path. But as Marketplace’s Kimberly Adams reports, that may not be enough to change the energy economy’s mind:

Coal is still a major source of energy in the United States. But coal consumption is on track to hit a near 40-year low in 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
And economists and industry watchers say that decline is likely to continue, because of competition from cheaper alternatives like natural gas, because new technologies are increasing energy efficiency, and because renewable energy sources like wind and solar are more competitive in the energy marketplace.

The National Mining Association declined comment, and the American Coal Council didn’t have anyone available to talk today about the latest energy report. For the industry, there are more challenges than cheap natural gas and regulatory hurdles. New technologies are increasing energy efficiency and making wind and solar more competitive.

Seth Feaster is with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis:

Feaster: “The economics in this – at the present time are so powerful that the transformation is happening in this industry regardless of what the policies are coming out of Washington.”

More: New U.S. coal consumption figures show industry’s decline

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