Coal, Emissions, Policy & Regulation

Pace of Coal-Fired Plant Closures Doubling in Trump Era

Despite President Trump’s vow to revive the coal industry, more coal-fired power plants have been retired in his first two years in office than in all of former President Obama’s first four-year term a decade ago.

Reports by Reuters, S&P Market Intelligence and others indicated that the pace of coal-fired closures has doubled in the past few years. In many cases, the decisions were made to close these plants before Trump took office.

Nonethless, the figures show an accelerating pace of closures despite Trump’s campaign promises to end the “Obama-era war on coal.” His administration’s Energy Department did attempt to get FERC to approve rulemaking on pricing supports for power generation with on-site fuel storage, which is basically coal and nuclear, but the regulators rejected the call.

Overall, more than 23,400 MW of coal-fired generation was shut in for the two years ending 2018, compared with 14,900 MW from 2009 to 2012, according to data from Reuters and the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

S&P Global analysis indicates that another 22.9 GW of coal-plant retirements are planned from this year through 2024.

Click here to read more from S&P Global’s Market Intelligence report on the pace of coal-fired generation retirements in the U.S.