A West Virginia University expert says the Murray Energy bankruptcy was “inevitable,” citing coal as no longer cost effective in energy production. “It’s a matter of economics,” according to James Van Nostrand, director of the WVU College of Law’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development. Van Nostrand said numbers remain favorable for renewable energy projects over continuing to operate existing coal plants.
“Efforts by the Trump administration to prop up the coal industry have proven to be unsuccessful, as the market forces are too overwhelming and the necessary financial subsidies would be too great. No utility in the United States is building a new coal plant, and the existing coal plants are retiring at a record rate. It is a matter of economics: when utilities engage in long-term planning – which most utilities are required to do under a regulatory requirement known as “integrated resource planning” – the resulting analyses show that continuing to run existing coal plants is a more expensive option than building a new, highly efficient natural gas-fired plant, or building a new wind farm or solar array.”
CONTACT: James Van Nostrand
Director, Center for Energy and Sustainable Development
WVU College of Law
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