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Trump Promotes Coal And Nuclear Energy-Clean Energy Will Continue Grow, But Coal and LNG Exports Should Increase.

ArmchairPolitiicianCleanEnergy, July 7, 2017, by Brad Peery, ArmchairPolitician.US@gmail.com, www.ArmchairPolitician.US

Overall gas, wind and solar make up 40% of U.S. energy needs, up from 22% ten years ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Over the last 5 years, 30% of the coal plants have closed. Nuclear power plants are also closing. Between 2013 and 2023, 11 of 65 nuclear power plants are expected to close.

Natural gas has been the main engine of change. Prices are so low that U.S. coal usage is likely to continue to lose market share. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel, and increasingly plentiful and inexpensive. Overall, natural gas has increase from 52 billion cubic feet (bcf) in 2006 to 79 bcf in 2015. Fracking was only 29% of natural gas production in 2006. Fracking made up 67% of the production of natural gas in the U.S. in 2015. The U.S. liquid natural gas (LNG) market offers an export opportunity for natural gas. Natural gas U.S. energy delivery is expected to grow from 72.2 bcf in 2016 to 76.2 bcf in 2018, a 5.5% increase.

Eastern European countries like Poland and the Baltic states have already suffered past episodes of Russian energy bullying. Now, they are increasingly unnerved by Russia’s tense showdown with NATO over Ukraine, Syria, and other possible political issues. But they also remain heavily reliant on Russian energy. The U.S. would like to reduce Europe’s reliance on Russian energy, and has just announced that Poland, where Trump had a meeting yesterday, will for the first time import U.S. produced LNG. This could be the start of a broader strategy to reduce European Russian energy dependence, and increase U.S. energy jobs.

Wind electricity generating capacity was 81 gigawatts at the end of 2016. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that wind electricity will grow by 26% to 102 gigawatts at the end of 2018. Wind is an important clean energy source that is taking market share from oil, nuclear and coal.

Total utility scale solar generating capacity was 21 gigawatts at the end of 2016. Solar is forecast to increase to 32 gigawatts at the end of 2018. Although the growth is expected be 52% over that two-year period, solar will add a little over 50% of the additional capacity expected to be provided by wind. Not included in these are the substantial investments being made by businesses and residences in solar replacement of traditional energy provided by local electric utilities.

The real opportunity for coal is to export it to countries such as China. China has recently been criticized for a 40% increase in coal imports from North Korea in the first quarter of 2017. However in April, Reuters reported that China began rejecting North Korean coal shipments, and there were 600,000 tons of coal sitting at various ports, and another 2 million tons stranded in Chinese ports, that had been rejected by the Chinese. China said in February it was suspending North Korean imports for the rest of this year. In a change in policy, no coal was exported from the U.S. to China from late 2014 to 2016, and by February of 2017, U.S. coal shipments to China totaled over 400,000 tons.

ArmchairPolitician.US Opinion:
Despite President Trump pulling out of the Paris Accords, clean energy will continue to grow in the U.S., partially driven by states such as California that has restricted the use of coal and other carbon polluting energy sources in the state. Wind and solar will be the largest sources of clean electrical energy production.
Exports of coal and LNG are likely sources of increased U.S. trade and job creation.

See:
ArmchairPoliticianEnergy, July 7, 2017, By Brad Peery, ArmchairPolitician.US
Coal Industry Revival? Trump Ignores Climate Change Scientific Conclusions. Exports May Help.

2 comments to Trump Promotes Coal And Nuclear Energy-Clean Energy Will Continue Grow, But Coal and LNG Exports Should Increase.

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