Energy Environment

Appalachian Power President: Coal is Dead

This is a truly remarkable statement for reasons beyond the obvious.

The president of the Appalachian Power company told a gathering of his fellow energy executives that coal power is more or less dead in the United States and, more significantly, he said coal is dead regardless of federal regulations.

“You just can’t go with new coal [plants] at this point in time,” [Charles Patton] reportedly said. “It is just not economically feasible to do so.” [...]

With or without the Clean Power Plan, the economics of alternatives to fossil-based fuels are making inroads in the utility plan,” Patton said. “Companies are making decisions today where they are moving away from coal-fired generation.”

Two dozen states have filed a second lawsuit (the first one was thrown out) against the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan and Republicans in Congress have made several attempts to kill the regulations. The president of Appalachian Power, however, says the market for coal will drop sharply over the next 10 years even if the Clean Power Plan is dismantled in court.

If that is the case, why go through with a lengthy, expensive lawsuit that will provide little to no benefits to the coal industry even if it's successful? Why waste another minute of the congressional session fighting a losing battle?

Unfortunately Appalachian Power president Charles Patton also recommended that the industry boost exports of coal to make up for their loses.