Coal Demand Will Keep Falling Under Biden or Trump – Report

The outlook for the coal industry is bleak no matter who wins the White House, according to a new report from Moody's Investors Service. (H/t Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
The outlook for the coal industry is bleak no matter who wins the White House, according to a new report from Moody's Investors Service. (H/t Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

By James Marshall, Greenwire, E&E News

The market for coal will continue to dry up – albeit at different rates – no matter which presidential candidate wins the election, according to a new report.The policy proposals of Democratic candidate Joe Biden would hasten coal plant retirements, while a second term for President Trump could help coal cling to withering demand, according to a report released today by Moody’s Investors Service.

“Demand for thermal coal will remain in secular decline in the 2020s regardless of the winner of the presidential election,” the report says.

Biden, the former vice president, proposes decarbonizing the electric power sector by 2035. His plan’s clean electricity standard and clean energy tax credits would deal a bigger blow to coal than to other fossil fuels, Moody’s predicted. The policies would contribute to a trend of coal-fired power plant retirements.

The Trump administration rolled back numerous environmental regulations to try to fulfill a campaign promise to revive coal. Those efforts helped preserve some demand, Moody’s said, but deregulation was no match for market factors that have seen other energy sources out-compete coal. In sharp contrast to 2016, bringing back coal jobs has been missing from the Trump campaign (Greenwire, Oct. 15).

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Analysts predict coal will bounce back in 2021 due to an anticipated increase in natural gas prices. But coal’s long-term outlook for generating power remains dismal. Natural gas, renewable energy and regulatory uncertainty will continue to have a negative impact on coal demand, Moody’s said.

“While we expect that a second Trump administration would continue to promote a policy agenda that is generally favorable to the coal industry, efforts to this point have been insufficient to reverse the decline in demand that started in the late 2000s,” the report stipulated.

 

Reprinted from Greenwire with the permission of E&E News. Copyright 2020. E&E News provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at www.eenews.net.