2017-04-05. Coal Is on the Way Out at Electric Utilities, No Matter What Trump Says.

posted Apr 13, 2017, 11:03 PM by Alan Gould

By Coral Davenport, The New York Times. For GSS Energy Use chapter 4. Excerpt: WASHINGTON — In Page, Ariz., the operators of the Navajo Generating Station... have announced plans to close it by 2019. The electric utility Dayton Power & Light will shut two coal plants in southern Ohio by next year. Across the country, at least six other coal-fired power plants have shut since November, and nearly 40 more are to close in the next four years. President Trump campaigned on a pledge to restore the limping American coal industry, vowing to bring jobs and production back to a sector that has been on a steady decline for over a decade. But to do that, he would have to revive demand for coal by electric utilities, which for decades have been the largest consumer of the heavily polluting fuel. Nearly all the coal mined in the United States generates electricity. On March 28, Mr. Trump headed to the Environmental Protection Agency, where, flanked by coal miners and coal company executives, he signed an executive order directing the agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt, to begin rolling back a set of regulations on coal-fired power plant pollution that made up the centerpiece of President Obama’s climate change legacy. ...“For us, it really doesn’t change anything,” said Jeff Burleson, vice president of system planning at Southern Company, an Atlanta-based utility that provides electricity to 44 million people across the Southeast, of the prospective rollback of the Clean Power Plan. “Whatever happens in the near term in the current administration doesn’t affect our long-term planning for future generation,” he said. As do most electric utilities, Southern Company plans its investment on a 50-year horizon, the expected life span of a new power plant. Its planners do not see coal as economically viable in that time frame. With or without the Clean Power Plan, power companies say, coal is simply no longer the fuel of choice for keeping the lights on in America — and they do not expect it to make a comeback. Cheaper natural gas and renewable sources like wind and solar power have replaced it....  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/business/dealbook/coal-utilities-regulation-trump.html


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