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Coal Plants Are Closing—There's Not Much Trump's EPA Can Do About It

Natural gas and renewable sources of energy are quickly replacing coal-fired power plants in the nation's energy portfolio. Economics, not regulations is determining what gets built, and what gets burned.
January 3, 2017, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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According to an article by Dvashre Saha and Sifan Liu, "the war on coal is a false narrative that oversimplifies what is happening in the energy economy."

The implications of that claim are that promises made by President-elect Donald Trump during the presidential campaign will likely be difficult to live up to. Moreover, even Trump's pick to lead U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, will find that dismantling environmental regulations won't be enough to reverse the trend away from coal and toward natural gas.

The post takes a look at some of the state's where energy use has shifted dramatically in recent years—even "red states" like Georgia, Ohio, and Kentucky are shutting down coal capacity quickly.

Saha and Lio share a final reference that's illustrative of the current energy marketplace: "As a recent study from the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin explains, in most of the United States, the cheapest power plant to build today tends to be natural gas combined-cycle plants or wind farms. New coal plants are more expensive to build in most places."

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Published on Monday, December 19, 2016 in Brookings Institution
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