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The Trump administration announced new pollution rules for coal-fired power plants designed to keep existing coal power plants operating more and save American coal mining jobs.
Profitability for U.S. coal power plants has plummeted, and one major coal company after another has filed for bankruptcy, including the world's largest private-sector coal company, Peabody Energy.
Reason - Coal - Decline - Gas - Energy
The main reason coal is in decline is less expensive natural gas and renewable energy like solar. Coal employment has dropped so low there are fewer than 53,000 coal miners in total in the U.S. (for comparison, the failing retailer J.C. Penny has about twice as many workers).
The EPA estimates the new rules will cause about 1,400 more premature deaths a year from coal-related air pollution by 2030. The Trump administration could avoid the premature American deaths from coal pollution – which amount to about 52,000 per year in total – and still help the coal miners themselves by retraining them for a more profitable industry, such as the solar industry.
Study - Question - Coal - Workers - Employment
A study I co-authored analyzed the question of retraining current coal workers for employment in the solar industry. We found that this transition is feasible in most cases and would even result in better pay for nearly all of the current coal workers.
How to make the jump?
Coal - Mining - Industry - Rest - America
What is left of the coal mining industry represents a unique demographic compared to the rest of America. It is white (96.4 percent); male (96.2 percent); aging, with an average age of 43.8 years old; and relatively uneducated, with 76.7 percent having earned only a high school degree or equivalent. Many are highly skilled, however, with the largest sector of jobs being equipment operators at 27 percent. Many of these skills can be transferred directly into the solar industry.
In the study, we evaluated the skill sets of current coal workers and tabulated...
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