Editorial: Trump’s coal theatrics

Posted 6/28/19

The energy reality is what just happened at Brayton Point when those towers came tumbling down.

Back when the decision was announced, a company spokesman called it simple economics — coal can no …

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Editorial: Trump’s coal theatrics

Posted

The energy reality is what just happened at Brayton Point when those towers came tumbling down.

Back when the decision was announced, a company spokesman called it simple economics — coal can no longer compete with natural gas and the new wave of wind and solar.

What Donald Trump’s Environmental “Protection” Agency just did by cutting Obama-era curbs on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants is unhinged from energy reality.

The announcement may have made for a good photo-op in the coal state of West Virginia, but that hard-hatted, work-vested cheering audience brought in for the moment was being played.

As most of the developed world figured out years ago, coal’s day as prime energy source is done.

The U.S. is experiencing “a wave of coal retirements — and we don’t think we’re near the end of it,” said Nicholas Steckler, head of U.S. power for BloombergNEF. “Coal is inferior to natural gas in many ways today — it’s less flexible, it’s higher cost, even its fuel is generally more expensive, and, of course, it’s dirty. It has so many reasons stacked against it.”

Left without clean energy leadership from the Trump White House, energy producers are charting their own course. Wind farms are sprouting offshore, and solar farms are lining up in Dartmouth and Westport and have their eye on Tiverton and Little Compton.

And Brayton Point, once home to a mountain of coal and source of that yellow pall that drifted over all of these towns — it will be transformed to a base for offshore wind.

Trump can pander to the coal lobby all he wants but that ship has sailed.

All he really accomplishes is to once more make the United States look less the leader it once was.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.