Coal power plants are going away for good. And there is nothing anyone can do to stop them. While the current administration has tried very hard to bring coal back, utilities are moving towards 100% renewable power.
Not even the administration’s Department of Energy’s ruling to subsidize aging coal units in the tune to $20 billion/annually worked. According to a Reuters article, more than 23,400 MW of coal-fired generation were shut in 2017-2018 compared to only 14,900 MW between 2009 and 2012.
Most people would argue that the money used to subsidize coal plants should be given to innovative companies that can and are making significant progress to reduce the coast and size of renewable distributed energy resources (DERs) and to increase their efficiency. With or without government’s help, the fast speed train called clean, affordable, accessible energy has left the station. And there is no way of stopping it.