Coal power stations have now ceased generating electricity in the UK, with all of them ceasing operations by 2022. They will be closed completely by 2025.
Here in the US, Trump promised coal-producing states that there would be a complete reversal when he took office. He lied (as usual) and said that the reason all the coal plants were closing was due to that damn Obama and his over-regulation. He promised to put a wingnut environment hater in the EPA—which is one of the few campaign promises he kept. (And you are doing a heckuva job, Pruitt.) And now, all those pesky clean air and water regulations are withering on a vine.
So what’s the result?
27 coal-fired plants closed last year. That’s about a rate of one every 15 days since Trump’s election. In fact, Trump is setting a record. The rate of collapse is more than twice what analysts had projected.
Coal plants aren’t yet quite closing at the rate of SEARS stores, but getting there.
Speaking of SEARS, if we are propping up dead-end markets just to save jobs, why isn’t Trump making any moves to save SEARS employees? After all, there are over 140,000 SEARS employees right now, but less than 50,000 miners in the entire US. Seems to me the economy would be better served by trying to save SEARS—and at least their products don’t produce lung cancer and acid rain.
Regardless, very soon, coal’s reign of error is thankfully coming to an end. Finally. They can take their pollution and disease-causing smog with them.
If America had simply been willing to face this new reality, we would have been begun the process of shuttering coal plants and moving to new technologies years ago. Unfortunately, we live with republicans.
The rightwing has been creating bogus groups to fight renewable energy since as long as I can remember. There’s no sense in trying to argue logically: I can give you statistics, like these, to prove coal is over—but you won’t believe me. It’s a hoax, like Parkland or climate change. You’ll also accuse me of somehow contributing to coal’s demise.
To which I reply: Coal is already dead. Don’t blame me, I didn’t kill it. It was dead when I got here.
It’s a dead industry. Have the intelligence—and the decency–to sign the death certificate and invest in something with a future.
The GOP keeps telling people that they are the party of the free market. Yet it is they who desperately try to prop up obsolete, old technology more than anyone.
China doesn’t have republicans. They long ago figured out that coal is dead, and are rapidly closing their coal plants. They also moved an exorbitant amount of money into renewables. Know what else they are doing?
China invested about $103 billion in renewable energy in 2015, about 36 percent of the world's total spending, according to annual global estimates.
By 2020, about half of China's new electricity generation will come from installed solar, wind, hydro and nuclear power projects, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said in its five-year blueprint for the nation's energy sector.
Sure, in WV the politically smart thing to do is to talk coal. But good politics isn’t the same as good policy. The hard truth is that workers need to be trained to compete in a 21st century economy. Propping up coal is akin to churning out Macintosh computers while all your competitors are building Macbook Pros.
In less than 10 years, it will be completely over.
The only difference is whether we wise up and at least try to at least play catch-up with the rest of the world.