Not So Coal Anymore

It’s Tuesday, August 7, and oh, ship! U.S. coal shipments are falling fast.

By Zoya Teirstein
Did the EPA borrow its latest PR strategy ...President Trump had promised that coal would make a comeback. Turns out, his coal-fired dreams are turning into a whole lotta ash.

Coal consumed by the U.S. power sector has been falling steadily for the past four years.

And guess what? Last year marked a record-low — the least amount of coal consumed by the U.S. electric sector since 1983. Some comeback, huh?

A recent analysis from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed that the country’s appetite for coal in 2017 was 36 percent lower than it was in 2008; some 661 million tons of coal were consumed by power companies last year.

Compare that with the first year of Obama’s presidency when we were gobbling up 1,040.6 million tons of the stuff.

U.S. Energy Information Administration

There’s yet more bad news for coal. The amount of coal shipped by rail, the main way it gets to where it needs to go, has slumped, too.

It’s now 33 percent lower than the amount that was getting caboosed around a decade ago.

The outlook doesn’t look too sunny for coal.

Speaking of sunny, there is a type of energy that’s been steadily thriving in the U.S.

The solar sector has ballooned 168 percent in the past eight years and now employs 250,000 people.

That’s roughly five times as many people who work in coal.

Might be time to switch teams, Trump!