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The disappearing case for coal in the US

A large wave of pit retirements may soon be followed by another

Coal supplied half of the total US power generation as recently as 2008, but after a decade of retirements now accounts for just a bit more than a quarter. A long wave of plant closures was driven by a mix of factors including the rise of natural gas, combined wind and solar, some policy tightening and pit depletion. Most observers have long believed that a smaller, leaner coal industry would emerge by now; largely safe, and economically viable. But a string of recent reports suggests that even younger coal plants may succumb to closure. Eric Gimon is a senior fellow at EnergyInnovation.org in San Francisco and is a co-author of The Coal Cost Crossover (March, 2019), which finds that a

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