Coal’s Trump Bump Is Over – by Brian Eckhouse and Tim Loh (Bloomberg News – November 8, 2017)

It’s been a year since President Donald Trump’s election and his pledges to transform the energy markets haven’t exactly come to pass.

In fact, what was true under President Barack Obama is still true today: Coal’s share of the power mix is declining, and wind and solar remain the fastest-growing U.S. sources of electricity.

Try as Trump might, economics, not policy, have driven these seismic shifts in the way America uses energy during his first year in office. His second year, though, could prove to be another story.

Trump hasn’t been shy about promoting the revival of coal, or taking credit for a recent comeback in mining. There are just two problems with that: The rebound, such as it was, started before he won the presidency a year ago, and utilities continue to shutter coal-fired power plants.

Building and operating a utility-scale wind farm costs as little as $30 a megawatt-hour over its lifetime — as little as $14 if you count subsidies. Keeping an existing coal plant running costs $26 to $39 a megawatt-hour, according to Lazard Ltd. And solar is on its way to becoming the cheapest power source on Earth.

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