Despite a very direct tweet from President Donald Trump urging the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to keep a 49-year-old coal plant in Kentucky open, the TVA board of directors voted 5-2 in favor of closing that plant as well as another one in Tennessee.
However, the plants will be shut down not because coal is the most polluting energy source, but because it simply became too expensive to maintain and operate the aging plants. As TVA CEO William Johnson the Associated Press, “It is not about coal. This decision is about economics.”
President Trump’s pledge to end the so-called “war on coal” was one of his signature campaign promises. But coal plants are closing at a rapid pace because of economics and competing power sources.
As Bloomberg wrote, “What was true under President Barack Obama is still true today: Coal’s share of the power mix is declining, and wind and solar remain the fastest-growing U.S. sources of electricity.” Coal’s decline has also been attributed to the rise of natural gas.