Democrats’ energy plan will kill U.S. coal by 2030, miners say

A plan to push utilities to use more clean energy could eliminate coal from the U.S. power grid by the end of the decade, according to a trade group that represents coal miners.

The Clean Electricity Performance Program proposed by House Democrats authorizes $150 billion in incentives for utilities that deliver at least four per cent more clean energy to customers. Those that don’t will have to pay a penalty to the U.S. Energy Department.

The program is a key part of President Joe Biden’s signature climate goal of decarbonizing the electric grid by 2035. For the coal industry, the carrot-and-stick approach is a serious threat, according to America’s Power, which represents miners including Peabody Energy Corp. and Consol Energy Inc. 

“The CEPP would eliminate coal-fired electricity by 2030, if not sooner,” Michelle Bloodworth, the group’s chief executive officer, wrote in a letter Monday to leaders of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce. It would also “eliminate or at least drastically curtail the use of natural gas to generate electricity.”

The trade group said that U.S. utilities are already shifting away from fossil fuels, but pushing for such a rapid transition requires rapid adoption of more wind and solar energy, potentially threatening the stability of the power grid.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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