Coal plant closures continue even as U.S. ends 'Clean Power Plan'
U.S. power firm Vistra Energy Corp said in October 2017 that it would shut two coal-fired plants for economic reasons, as closures in the industry continue apace despite the environment regulator saying this week he wanted to end the “war on coal.”
But the new closures show regulation is not the only pressure on coal. Cheap gas from record shale production over the past decade has made some older coal plants uneconomic, especially those that require costly upgrades to meet increasingly strict environmental rules, often imposed by states.
EPA officials had no immediate comment.
Coal served as the primary fuel source for U.S. power plants for a century, but its use has been declining since a peak in 2007, around the same time drillers started pulling gas out of shale formations.
Gas became the leading power plant fuel in 2016 when the amount of coal used to produce electricity fell to its lowest level since 1982, according to federal data.