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Amy Harder Jan 10
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Get ready for a lot of coal-plant shutdowns

Adapted from an U.S. Energy Information Administration report; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

A near record amount of coal-powered electricity is poised to shut down this year, according to recently released federal data.

Why it matters: President Trump has promised to revive the coal industry, but virtually all objective market trends and analysis indicate that’s not going to happen in any sizable manner.

By the numbers:

  • Roughly 13 gigawatts of coal electricity at more than a dozen different units across the country are set to retire this year, according to the U.S. federal U.S. Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department.
  • That amount is second only to 2015 when nearly 15 gigawatts of coal power shut down.
  • Coal’s share of the electricity generation mix, which as recently as a decade ago was close to 50%, is projected to fall below 30% this year, according to EIA’s short-term energy outlook released Tuesday.
  • Driven by exports, coal production increased by 6% last year, but it’s expected to decline by 2% this year and next.

Why it’s all happening: A primary reason for the near-record amount of coal electricity shutdowns this year is persistently cheap natural gas prices, while in 2015 the reason was largely a pending deadline to comply with an environmental regulation requiring power plants to cut pollution of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants, according to EIA analyst Scott Jell. Coal emits far more pollution than natural gas.

Yes, but: Jell said EIA’s projections are based off announced intentions to shut down plants, which could change from what ultimately ends up occurring.

Axios 10 hours ago
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Shannon Vavra 12 hours ago
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Students mark Columbine’s 19th anniversary with nationwide walkouts

Students walk towards the Capitol in D.C. holding signs reading "Enough is enough" with drawings of a gun.
Students walk towards the Capitol April 20, 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Nineteen years ago today, at 11:19 am, high school students Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris walked into Columbine High School in Colorado and opened fire. They killed 12 students and a teacher, injured 23 others, and killed themselves in the library just after noon. Five hours passed before the situation was under control.

Fast forward: Starting at 10am today, students across the nation, including those from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, have been staging more than 2,600 walkouts to honor the 19th anniversary of the massacre and demand action from lawmakers on gun legislation, according to the National School Walkout organizer’s web site.