We’ve all heard the rhetoric about how the so called “war on coal” is over. There has been a concerted effort by the Trump administration to reduce regulation and save the coal industry. So, after 2 plus years of the Trump presidency, where do we stand with coal?
Before I try to answer that question, here’s some information on coal. Five states produce 71% of US coal. (Wyoming, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Kentucky). Currently, 27% of electric comes from coal. Here is a link to the US Energy Information Administration chart on electric generation sources for more information. https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3
That being said, the future for coal isn’t looking good. In 2016, natural gas surpassed coal as the leading fuel source for electric generation. The short term energy outlook suggest that 2019 will see a 9% decrease in coal production and 2020 will see another 6% decrease. While Trump vowed to save coal, more coal fired plants have closed in the US in the first two years of his administration than the entire first term of Barak Obama.
With renewable energy becoming cheaper and more available, and cleaner burning natural gas as the new primary fuel for electric generation, the “war on coal” is still underway, and gaining ground.