Environment

Coal Plants Are Still Closing

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Trump regime can repeal all the regulations they like, it's not going to resurrect coal.

An electricity provider in central Ohio has announced that it's closing two coal-fired power plants for "economic reasons." Those reasons appear to include their failure to convince the public that they should pay more to cover the cost of renovating the ancient, dirty plants.

Dayton Power & Light, a subsidiary of AES Corp. (AES), said in an emailed statement that it planned to close the J.M. Stuart and Killen plants by June 2018 because they would not be “economically viable beyond mid-2018.” [...]

The closure follows negotiations between Dayton Power & Light, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and stakeholders like the environmental group the Sierra Club over whether the company should be allowed to raise electricity prices to pay for upgrades to keep the plants open.

Switching to alternative energy sources like natural gas, solar, and wind will not require raising prices and those sources are cleaner and cheaper to operative than coal-fired power plants.

And you can't say President Obama's Clean Power Plan is responsible for this because the plan isn't even being enforced. The Clean Power Plan, which would place strict limits on the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by power plants, has been held up in court since the day it was finalized. And as you may recall, the plan was challenged in court even before it was finalized.

While the federal Clean Power Plan has never actually been implemented, many states, including some red states, have adopted their own renewable energy standards and targets because it's better for their own economies. The natural gas, wind, and solar power industries are cheaper, cleaner, and employ far more people than the coal industry does.

Trump's war on regulations and the EPA won't save a dying industry, but it will allow industry executives and benefactors to squeeze what they can while they still can and then safely retire and leave behind a legacy of death and pollution that future administrations will be responsible for cleaning up.

Coincidentally, Dayton Power & Light is my electricity provider. My average power bill hasn't changed for as long as I've lived here, "war on coal" or not.

  • muselet

    Coal is a terrible fuel. Extracting it is dangerous and destructive and filthy, burning it is filthy and not very efficient (unless advanced technology is employed), the waste products are toxic as hell, and the stuff is more expensive than other fuels that are less awful.

    The only way for the Trump administration to bring coal back! would be to require electricity generators to use coal, and that’s simply not going to happen.

    I hate to keep saying this, but Trump voters, you got played.

    –alopecia

  • Aynwrong

    It’s terrible what coal miners and their families and communities are going through. No question. The fact is however that coal miners overwhelmingly and from what I gather enthusiastically voted against the candidate who would have at least tried to mitigate the worst aspects of their industry’s slow death march. The healthcare they, their families and neighbors need, the job training for those who are able to transition to a new industry, the gov’t assistance to help make it through said transition and the assistance for those who can’t are now on the chopping block and the candidate and the party that they empowered with their vote for are the ones swinging the meat cleavers.

    • Draxiar

      Aye…they voted for the candidate that could not care less about them much of the reasoning, I’ll assume, is due to an out of context quote about closing down coal mines and power plants due to the long-overdue rise of sustainable energy. Nevermind the fact that she said it in terms of HELPING those people get jobs…all they heard was “Let’s take away people’s jobs!”

      Let’s review shall we?

      “So for example, I’m the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity using clean renewable energy as the key into coal country. Because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business, right?

      And we’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people. Those people labored in those mines for generations, losing their health, often losing their lives to turn on our lights and power our factories.

      Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels, but I don’t want to move away from the people who did the best they could to produce the energy that we relied on.”

      • HeartBrokenLiberal

        Why the hell was that quote not put into a commercial and run 24/7 in the states that these idiots live in? The only commercials I ever saw were how unfit Trump was. Apparently, I lot of people in those states didn’t care.

      • ninjaf

        But Trump wasn’t going to make them retrain. See? With him, they could just stay right where they are and coal was going to come roaring back! No scary education or retraining required for them. No need to modernize or learn anything new. Never mind the legacy and future of their children. This is their heritage and they are entitled to it!

      • Aynwrong

        Meanwhile Trump promised “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.”

  • Badgerite

    It was only a matter of time before better energy technologies than coal powered plants were developed. And now that technology is even cheaper. There is no reason for our society to invest in pollution if we don’t need to. And we don’t.

  • Scopedog

    Hey, you coal folks who voted for Trump because he’d “bring back coal”?

    Well, I think you’d better realize…