Drop in American coal production during Obama offset by rises in exports to industrializing China, India…
CNN said “the free market” would end coal production, even if Trump scrapped Obama-era environmental rules, because of “dirt-cheap natural gas and increasingly affordable renewables.”
“It’s hard to see any scenario where coal rebounds,” said Joe Aldina, manager of coal research at S&P Global Platts Analytics, CNN reported.
The facts do not attest to this analysis. American coal production is currently rebounding as global demand increases.
Coal-fired power meets 27 percent of America’s energy needs, down from 40 percent a decade ago, but that does not mean that coal is dying, Power Engineering reported.
China and India are consuming, importing and producing more coal-based energy in an effort to meet rapidly expanding energy needs.
India, for example, expects that its “coal energy generation will grow by 22 percent by the end of 2022.”
Data indicated that India will import 73 million tons of coal this fiscal year, and American coal companies are reigniting production to meet that growing demand.
Coal production in the United States did fall sharply between 2008 and 2016, from 1,172 million tons to 728 million tons, but from 2016 to 2018, coal production saw a small jump to 755 million tons, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported.
President Barack Obama — who said in 2008 that his anti-fossil fuel energy plan meant that electricity costs would “necessarily skyrocket” — managed to slash American exports in half between 2012 and 2016, from 126 million tons to 60 million tons.
Since Trump took office, American coal exports have regained their momentum and climbed to 116 million tons.
American coal companies exported more than 17 million tons of coal to India in 2018. They also exported millions of tons to the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea and Brazil.
America’s domestic coal consumption has also fallen steadily, from 1.121 million tons in 2008 to 687 million tons in 2018, but that does not mean that American coal companies will abandon the export market.
The concern for climate change dictates much of American energy policy, but this is not the case for foreign countries that do not have the luxury to construct climate ideologies.
For example, Duke Energy set a “goal to achieve net-zero carbon emission by 2050,” CNN reported.
“Retiring coal plants is an important part of achieving this objective,” said Lynn Good, Duke Energy’s CEO. “The economics have been front and center in this transition. Low-cost natural gas, the declining cost of renewables, and, frankly, low interest rates, have been an important part of how we are able to invest and retire plants.”
Power Engineering reported that China could “add 290 GW of new coal-fired capacity this year,” which is about 10 percent more “than the entire U.S. existing coal-fired generation fleet of about 261 GW.”
Even if the United States eliminates its coal-based carbon-dioxide emissions, China and India will continue to increase production, thus nullifying any reductions in the U.S.
The future of coal does not look uncertain in China and India, two countries with more than 36 percent of the world’s population. They are in the middle of their industrial revolutions, regardless of the desires of American environmentalists.