GOP Defends Coal As Renewable Energy Surges

(5 May 2016) U.S. investment in renewable energy projects has outpaced investment in fossil fuels for the second straight year.
The U.S. Department of Energy says wind turbines and solar panels accounted for more than two-thirds of all new electric generation capacity added to the nation's grid in 2015. The remaining third was largely new power plants fueled by natural gas, which has become cheap and plentiful as a result of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
The states of GOP lawmakers who have fought to protect coal-fired power plants are actually benefiting from the shift to renewable energy. Leading the way in new wind projects are GOP strongholds Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.
The cost of adding wind turbines has plummeted in recent years.
Coal's slump is largely the result of cheap natural gas, which now rivals coal as a fuel for generating electricity. Older coal-fired plants are being idled to meet clean-air standards.
Donald Trump says he would bring back lost coal-mining jobs, and he is positioning for the November election in big coal states by portraying Hillary Clinton as a job killer.
Trump, however, has yet to explain exactly how he will revitalize Appalachia's coal industry. To pull it off, he will have to overcome market forces and a push for cleaner fuels that have pummeled coal.

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