March 8, 2018 Read More →

Trump Administration’s Latest Energy Initiative: Tiny Coal Plants


The Trump administration is set to ask companies to help the government develop small-scale coal-fired power plants, a top agency official told Axios Tuesday on the sidelines of a major energy conference in Houston.

Such technology is largely unheard of — today’s coal-fired power plants in the U.S. are big and not easily turned on or off. The Energy Department’s pursuit of these plants among the strongest signals of President Trump’s desire to revive coal despite market trends going in the opposite direction.


Steve Winberg, an assistant secretary for fossil energy at the department, says he hopes coal could survive if these small power plants are successful even amid market trends going the other direction.

Jesse Jenkins, an energy analyst getting his Ph.D at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology, said he hadn’t heard of small modular coal plants in any modern context. “You mean like the kind we used to build in 1920?” He said. “It sounds like going backwards to an earlier generation of smaller plants.”

More: Trump’s Energy Department pursuing small coal power plants

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