3 Hints That Coal Is Here to Stay

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Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Energy concerns are a major topic today — indirectly, in discussions of the 2 degree Celsius climate change deadline and issue with Russia, as well as directly, such as with the delay on a Keystone XL pipeline decision. But there is one subject in the energy industry that isn’t changing despite the emphasis on natural gas — and that’s coal. As Consul Energy President Nick Deluliis told The Wall Street Journal, “Coal’s future is strong; it’s just not a growth story.” Of course, some would be less conservative in their projections on coal’s role in the future, but let’s take a look a few signs that show this much, at least, is true.

1. Bloomberg vs. Boehner

Bloomberg published a piece in February on closure of over 150 coal boilers, stating that Bloomberg New Energy Finance projected that 263 more would likely see the same fate, and addressing the retirement of almost a fourth of the U.S. coal fleet before the decade is up. The reasons given for the closures had to do with more stringent emission regulation and natural gas competition, or poor conditions of equipment.

All of this sounds bad, however, logistically it may not be realistic, and there is political motivation to prevent to great a slump in coal. Mike Ricci, writer for Speaker of the House John Boehner, discussed these findings, as well as coal’s importance during the winter. He said that cuts in the coal industry to the extent to which Bloomberg was predicting would end in “higher prices and too much demand on natural gas too quickly,” and referenced the House’s passage of the March 2014 “Preventing Government Waste & Protecting Coal Mining Jobs in America Act.” While the bill isn’t likely to get through the Senate, it does show a significant opposition to those emissions standards that would be a detriment to the coal industry.

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