Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Analysis | September 2, 2019)
by Noreen Wise
The tides are turning. Coal has seen a steady decline for the past five years, with a double digit slide in 2019. State and local energy decision makers have finally begun to believe in the impressive advantages of green energy and are quickly strategizing about how to amp up “clean” energy for their communities.
Solar efficiency, along with new battery technology for storing solar energy, has created a stars lining up effect, enabling the solar industry to take flight into unchartered territory, especially for those companies offering $0 down for the installation of solar panels. Get ready for this exciting wild ride of transition.
South Carolina’s state-owned coal utility, Santee Cooper, will announce on Tuesday September 3, 2019 that it has completed their new business plan and will begin shutting down one of its two coal power plants. The company does not anticipate any layoffs, but rather expects downsizing will come from attrition and retirements.
Additionally, Santee Cooper has its long term sight on eliminating coal energy entirely, with the goal of reducing its carbon footprint once it completes it’s build out of solar power.
One of the top coal producers in Kentucky, Blackhawk Mining, LLC., filed for bankruptcy in July 2019. Blackhawk will continue to operate during its bankruptcy and does not plan on any layoffs.
Two large Kentucky coal producers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcies in recent years, Alpha Natural Resources and Peabody Energy. Both have emerged from bankruptcy and are still producing coal, although the production levels are much lower than a decade ago.
Further complicating coal production in the Appalachians (Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Alabama), was the announcement in early July that Chubb would no longer insure coal producing companies. It’s expected that other insurance companies will do the same. The fossil fuel industry is facing major lawsuits related to climate change. Coal companies are unable to operate without insurance.
It’s very important that states support their coal communities by planning ahead, knowing that the transition to clean energy is only a matter of time. Dirty energy is dead. The sooner communities can transition to solar and wind and create new jobs, the better and healthier everyone will be.
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