American coal consumption drops to lowest level since 1979

Coal Industry Still Failing

The Coal Industry Is At Its Lowest Point Since 1979

Energy Secretary Rick Perry today urged development of Appalachian coal country's natural gas and petrochemical sectors.

The Obama administration regulation, finalized in 2015, imposed carbon dioxide limits on new and modified coal-fired power plants that could not be met without installing some kind of carbon-capture technology.

As President, he's put forth policies backed by the coal lobby, including repealing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, pulling the USA out of the Paris Climate accord, weakening water and air standards and pushing a now-shelved plan to bailout out the coal and nuclear industries on the backs of ratepayers.

According to the EIA, the total USA coal consumption in 2018 would fall to 691 million short tons (1 short ton is about 0.9 metric ton), a 4 percent decline from 2017 and the lowest level since 1979.

Following reports that Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will attack the climate again by neutering an Obama-era rule in an effort to revive the dying coal industry, environmental advocacy groups on Wednesday stressed that the march towards a clean energy future is unstoppable.

The report cites ongoing competition from cheap and cleaner-burning forms of energy, especially natural gas.

Market forces are frustrating President Donald Trump's pledge to bring back the coal industry and abundant coal jobs.

A study released Wednesday by the Global Carbon Project, an initiative at Stanford University, shows that while coal consumption in Canada and the USA has dropped by 40 percent since 2005, increasing coal use in China and India is expected to drive global emissions to an all-time high this year.

The Energy Information Administration says coal consumption by the country's power grid will end the year down 4 percent, and fall another 8 percent in 2019.

The proposed change is expected to come in an "energy policy announcement" Thursday from acting EPA Administrator and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler. Tougher pollution rules are also causing coal to lose some market shares.

Pizarchik, now a consultant on water quality and reforestation, said lower prices for natural gas and renewables will continue to drive down demand for coal, despite deregulation efforts by the Trump administration. They often referred to it as a "war on coal". So far in 2018, 11 GW of coal-fired generating capacity has retired through September, and another 3 GW is expected to retire in the final three months of the year, based on data reported to EIA by plant owners and operators.

Spokespeople for the US departments of Energy and Interior did not immediately return requests for comment Tuesday.

National gas production in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia has jumped from 2 percent of the nation's total in 2008 to 27 percent a year ago, Perry said.

Latest News