We all know that clean energy is on the upswing in the United States, both in terms of employment and generation. But what about the dirtiest of dirty energy - coal? The Wall Street Journal looks at that subject, and what it finds is not encouraging - if you're a fan of coal, that is. A few problems include:
- New EPA regulations on coal-fired power plants, combined with cheap natural gas, make it "almost unthinkable to build new coal-fired power plants–which account for more than 90% of U.S. coal consumption."
- What about exporting U.S. coal? That doesn't look good either, in part because China has realized that its economic growth model is completely unsustainable - "unbalancing the economy and poisoning the environment" - prompting the Chinese government to start moving to cut coal use and increase energy efficiency.
- At the same time, China's coal industry is becoming more productive and more competitive, also reducing the need for coal imports.
- In addition, Australia's weak currency has made coal exports from that country more competitive vis-a-vis U.S. coal.