War or Not, Coal Plants Are Still Closing

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Trump regime recently announced that it would roll back the Obama-era Clean Power Plan and declared that the so-called "War on Coal" is dead, but coal-fired power plants are still closing and they'll continue to close.

One of the largest utility companies in the nation, Vistra Energy Corp, just announced that two major coal-fired power plants in Texas --Texas!-- will shut down in the immediate future.

In his announcement, Vistra CEO Curt Morgan made it clear that the power plants are shutting down for purely economic reasons.

The cost to generate electricity from coal plants varies from $60 to $143 per megawatt hour, compared to $48 to $78 for natural gas, according to a report last year from financial advisory firm Lazard. The unsubsidized cost for wind was $32 to $62.

"Though the long-term economic viability of these plants has been in question for some time, our yearlong analysis indicates this announcement is now necessary," according to a statement from Curt Morgan, president and CEO of Luminant parent company, Vistra Energy Corp.


The capacity of U.S. coal plants expected to shut in 2018 is now more than 13,600 MW compared with an expected 7,600 MW in 2017 and almost 13,000 MW in 2016. In 2015, power companies shut almost 18,000 MW of coal-fired generation, the most in any year.

Coal served as the primary fuel source for U.S. power plants for a century, but its use has been declining since a peak in 2007, around the same time drillers started pulling gas out of shale formations.

In other words, coal's demise is actually going to hasten under Trump, not slow down or reverse, regardless of the GOP's regulatory bullshittery.

The supposed "War on Coal" waged by the Obama administration was not a war and had very little to do with the demise of the industry. All those miners who bought Trump's shtick are going to learn that the hard way. And they probably won't be able to turn to exports for viability because other nations are going green quicker than we are.

I can't say I necessarily feel sorry for them, but we know the Trump regime isn't going to lift a finger to help anyone left behind in the 21st century economy. The GOP's budget would cut virtually every social and economic program that helps people adapt.

  • fry1laurie

    “My own interests? What the hell do I want to vote for my own interests for? Make ‘Murca Great Agin!”

  • Draxiar

    Gee…if we only had a candidate that would help the coal miners after their industry was, fortunately, snuffed out…

    “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.” ~~Hillary Clinton

    Not for nothing but I really do wish there was a war on coal.

  • KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker

    Hillary stated in her platform that she would allocate money to re-train coal workers who would soon be unemployed.
    We all remember how wingnuts spun that logical approach.
    Do these same dolts think the trump will lift a finger to help re-train them for other employment?
    Good luck with that!