Coal plants shuttered at the second fastest rate in U.S. history in 2019, Reuters reported Monday, citing federal data.
Energy companies retired nearly 15,100 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired electricity that year, enough to electrify millions of homes, the report notes, citing data from the Energy Information Administration. The closures come despite President Donald Trump’s promise to bring back the industry.
Roughly 19,300 MWs of coal-generated power were shutdown in 2015 during the latter half of former President Barack Obama’s tenure in office, Reuters reported. (RELATED: More Than 50 Coal Companies Have Been Wiped Out Since Trump’s 2016 Victory)
The report also shows that an estimated 39,000 MW of coal-fired power plant capacity have gone offline since Trump’s first year in 2017. More coal plants will have shut during Trump’s first four years than Obama’s second term if that trend continues, Reuters reported.
Trump has tried to beat back what some people say is inevitable: big coal’s slow decline. The president has nixed nearly 100 environmental regulations during his first three years in office, effectively rolling back much of the rules Obama foisted on the coal industry.
Trump fully eliminated 25 rules designed to rein in air pollution and emissions, as well as 19 that regulate energy producers’ ability to drill and extract oil and gas, The New York Times reported in December 2019. This pell-mell push is generating angst from environmentalists and officials alike.
One of Trump’s biggest accomplishments in the early going was replacing Obama’s so-called Clean Power Plan, which required states to make deep cuts to power sector emissions. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on the CPP’s implementation in 2016, though some analysts believe that rule and others nonetheless impacted the business model coal companies employ.
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