Since winning the Presidential elections in 2016, Donald Trump has made several promises to rectify what he cites as mistakes of former president Barack Obama. One such promise made by Trump was to end Obama’s “war on coal.”
However, nearing the end of his second term, the US President can be seen far from his goal. A latest analysis suggested that the number of coal plant closings doubled their pace this year.
According to an analysis released on Wednesday by S&P Global Market Intelligence, in 2018 a total of 14.3 GW of coal-fired power plant capacity is likely to retire, surging from 7.0 GW of capacity retired in the previous year.
The figures were based on 245.6 GW of current operating coal plant capacity in the US, excluding the recent retirement announcements from city-owned coal plant and Energy Corp in Michigan.
The analysis reveal that despite the efforts of the Trump administration to boost the consumption or repeal the laws, this year will mark the highest level of coal plant closings since 2015— which saw 14.7 GW of coal retirements.
The future of the coal industry in the country looks just as gloomy as the study mentions that for 2019 to 2024, nearly 23.1 GW of coal plant retirements have already been announced or received regulatory approval.
The decline in coal plants is attributed to several reasons, including the inefficiency of the administration. The inability of coal to compete in the US energy market is one of the reasons.
According to the utilities, there is a spectrum of reasons for coal plant closings— aging plants, higher costs of maintenance and future regulatory uncertainty.
In an October report on coal plant closings, Seth Feaster, an Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis energy analyst, wrote that the trend is likely to continue as aging power plants become increasingly uneconomic.
The shift in public sentiment on coal has also been a major reason for demise of coal. Several consumers in the country have started opting cleaner forms of energy over coal—one of the largest contributors to carbon (a greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere.
The claims by the Trump administration are clearly greater than the outcome. Despite their promises that coal was crucial to the government’s energy independence goal, the government is clearly failing to keep up its promises. Although they have made several attempts to subsidize the fossil fuel, the coal plant closings are just on the trail to escalate
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