Power plants are increasingly turning to renewable energy and moving away from coal, but will the White House follow suit?
On the campaign trail last year, Donald Trump announced ambitious plans to revive the struggling coal industry, bring back jobs for miners, and invest in clean coal programs.
To keep that promise, he has since rolled back Obama-era regulations on coal and withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement.
In response to environmental concerns, Trump has touted “clean coal” — a seemingly oxymoronic phrase — referring to the expensive technology that can capture harmful carbon emissions.
Yet, his Secretary of Energy Rick Perry proposed budget cuts to the department’s Office of Fossil Energy, which researches cleaner uses for coal and other nonrenewable fuels.
Furthermore, experts say that overwhelming market factors will torpedo Trump’s plans to bring back coal. More and more power plants are turning to natural gas and renewable resources like solar — and coal faces an inevitable downturn. (Please see our earlier story on this turn of events.)
Watch the video below to get a better idea of where coal stands with respect to US energy markets and government policy.
Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Cholla by snowpeak