Despite Trump moves, coal still dwindling, report says

(BY: KEN WARD JR, CHARLESTON GAZETTE-MAIL) – As the Trump administration steps up its effort to roll back federal rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a new analysis projects that coal’s role in the nation’s energy mix will continue to dwindle.

Dozens more coal-fired units at power plants are slated for closure over the next decade, and more than 120 others are listed as “uncompetitive” in the new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Our analysis shows that the transition away from coal over the past decade is poised to continue, thanks primarily to market forces,” said Jeremy Richardson, senior energy analyst at the group and lead author of its report.

The Union of Concerned Scientists’ report is scheduled for release Tuesday, the same day that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is set to sign a formal rulemaking notice aimed at repealing the Obama EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

In 2008, coal represented about 52 percent of the nation’s electricity supply. By 2016, that share had fallen to 31 percent. Fifty-nine gigawatts, or about 17 percent of the nation’s coal-fired generating capacity, was retired and another 13 gigawatts switched to other fuels during that period.

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