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Security of Supply
What Trump’s “Energy Independence” Order Means
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  • Tom

    Realistically speaking, though, it’s difficult to deny that the Obama administration enthusiastically lent its support to marginalizing coal by doing its level best to hamper the industry via environmental regulations on coal mining and coal power.
    No, coal’s never going to go back to where it was in the ’80s or ’90s, but the argument that it was purely market forces that ended coal’s reign is rather weak.

  • Anthony

    There are more energy jobs (currently) in renewable energy than in coal – market forces defy ideology and tribal epistemology.

    • Angel Martin

      almost none of those “renewable energy” jobs would even exist without subsidies, tax preferences and environmental mandates

      • Anthony

        Martin, your lane (stay in it) or better still deflect elsewhere.

        • Boritz

          Shut up, he explained.

          • Anthony

            Ridiculous tribal epistemology and you’re right in it (surprise) – no explanation except for the economically limited.

          • texasjimbo

            The idiocy of your statement lies in the fact that rent seeking is almost entirely a result of the government sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong. There wouldn’t be any way to rent seek if the government didn’t intervene in the economy. So that rent seeking is the fault of your side, not mine. Why don’t you stay in your lane, or even better, just STFU, since you clearly don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.

          • Anthony

            Nothing has change since you last arose from…so disappear.

          • texasjimbo

            Well, you’re actually being a little harsher on yourself (“inanities, drivel, gibberish”) than I would have been. I would have said vapid and stupid. But admitting you have a problem is the first step towards change. Good luck. Since you can’t make me disappear, why don’t you?

          • Fred

            Actually, he can make you disappear as far as he is concerned, and he probably will. He blocked me, the cowardly prick.

          • texasjimbo

            Of course, when he blocks someone, everyone else continues to see their responses to him.

          • Anthony

            Don’t misconstrue (not someone, just “one”).

          • Anthony

            I guess I’ll do one more round because you’re so easy (as well as angry and predictable – though this thread is now 72hrs behind me): Who are you? Your endless rantings, hysteria, attacks are for another venue. You pop up randomly even though you remain a cipher. You blame the Der Ewige Liberals but if you are going to “troll” someone at least try to discern their point.

            Now if you need the last word (to express your tedious tripe further), be my guess as I’ve given your type one round more than normal.

          • texasjimbo

            You understand, I hope, that when you block someone, everyone else continues to be able to see their responses to you. You and FG really do take the cake for being the biggest idiots on TAI, and it is very doubtful any regular reader here besides FG thinks you are anything other than an idiot.

          • Anthony


          • Fred

            Apparently, Anthony’s pseudo-intellectual blather of the week is now “tribal epistemology.” It replaces “cognitive distortion.”

  • Andrew Allison

    You are, of course, correct that the Trump Administration can’t (and won’t) do much to change the energy course U.S. is already on, but you miss the point: the previous administration was equally unable to do so by placing unnecessary and, in the case of fracking, counterproductive burdens on the fossil fuel industry. Coal is steadily being replaced by natural gas in its primary market (electricity generation).

  • Jmaci

    This analysis is likely correct. But one thing the Trump EO might do is allow coal to die a natural death rather than the swift execution Obama wanted. That might might give coal country time to develop replacement industries and give miners time to retrain for new jobs. Trump’s is a kinder way to handle a dying industry

  • CaliforniaStark

    According to the U.S. EIA, the use of coal will increase in 2017, and coal production will increase 4%. Coal production will then remain unchanged in 2018. .

    Economics determine the amount of coal use, not anti-coal polemics, which dominate the press now. If natural gas prices rise to a level where coal is a cheaper source of energy, coal use will increase and natural gas use will fall. At present the EIA predicts natural gas prices will rise in such a manner, and result in more use of coal. Adam Smith trumps Al Gore. Below are quotes from the EIA assessment. Coal use will increase in 2017, and stabilize in 2018:

    “EIA expects growth in coal-fired electricity generation to contribute to a 4% increase in coal production in 2017. Coal production is expected to be unchanged in 2018. EIA estimates the delivered coal price averaged $2.11/MMBtu in 2016, a 5% decline from the 2015 price. Coal prices are forecast to increase in 2017 and 2018 to $2.17/MMBtu and $2.21/MMBtu, respectively.”

    “EIA expects the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas to fall from an average of 34% in 2016 to 32% in 2017 as a result of higher expected natural gas prices. The natural gas share of generation is then expected to rise slightly to 33% in 2018. Coal’s forecast generation share rises from 30% in 2016 to average 31% in 2017 before falling back to 30% in 2018. Nonhydropower renewables are forecast to provide 9% of electricity generation in 2017 and 10% in 2018. The generation share of hydropower is forecast to be relatively unchanged from 2017 to 2018 at 7%, and the nuclear share of electricity generation declines slightly from almost 20% in 2017 to 19% in 2018.”

    The dynamics of the energy market change quickly, a lot of what is stated in the article was correct last year, but not now. Coal will hold its own, at least in the short-term, now that the Obama anti-coal regulations have been repealed by Trump

  • Proud Skeptic

    Coal aside, the EO makes some significant philosophical changes to the way various agencies do business. Obama’s efforts to coopt all decision making by inserting malleable climate science considerations into everything gave government the power to pretty much control anything they wanted by digging through questionable climate science in order to find a justification to do what they want.

    No…this is more significant than the author suggests.

  • Angel Martin

    Coal is the cheapest per btu energy source going. I say it should be kept in case (until?) the whole climate carbon panic is revealed to be total BS by future temperature trends.

    In addition, in any future wars, coal to oil synfuels may be the difference between the USA and its allies winning and losing.

  • Jonathan Dembo

    American Interest is missing the point again. The future of coal is not in the domestic market but in the foreign market. Despite its loss of American markets, the coal industry can undercut European, Indian and Chinese producers by a significant margin. American coal, like American fracking, is going to shake up the world market for coal. That is the message of the President’s EO. The message goes out to foreign markets: US coal supplies are available, they are going to be cheap, they are not going to be restricted by the federal government, they are a good investment, they can replace your dirtier supplies of coal and help you reduce your pollution.

    • Jim__L

      Question… is it byproducts from coal burning that American coal plants can scrub out, that are currently polluting Chinese skies? If so, China may not get cleaner skies by burning less coal, but by modernizing their plants.

      That’s one of the worst things about this “CO2 is pollution” nonsense. It distracts us from the far, far more noxious materials that are the REAL pollutants.

      • Jonathan Dembo

        I don’t disagree. But I was not considering the clean air angle at all. That is really not relevant to the Chinese, I think. The Chinese are interested in reliability, price and supply, not necessarily in that order. They use the social and moral components of issues only for their propaganda. US supplies have all the qualities that the Chinese — and Indians and Europeans and others — seek when buying coal. That is what will cause a rebound in the coal industry, not any tremendous upsurge in US domestic demand, at least, in the near future. So long as fracking makes gas plentiful and cheap, coal will not make any real headway in the US. I am not, however, discounting the possibility that reductions in regulations that increase the cost of domestic coal in power plants, might lead to an increase in coal usage. There are hundreds if not thousands of mothballed coal-fired power plants that could be brought online quickly if the demand arose, but in my opinion US demand is not about to increase that much any time soon. The only thing that could change my opinion would be a dramatic disruption of world wide energy supplies that increased the cost of energy significantly. That could encourage the activation of the mothballed coal plants. That is possible, but unlikely, I think.

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