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Amy Harder Aug 24
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Natural gas causing coal, nuclear shutdowns, gov. report says

Energy Secretary Rick Perry, right, talks with Sen. Joe Manchin, left, and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, outside the coal-burning Longview Power Plant in Maidsville, WV. Photo: AP / Michael Virtanen

The Energy Department's highly anticipated report on America's electricity grid is out, and our biggest takeaway is that it affirms generally accepted knowledge in the energy industry — cheap natural gas has been the primary factor causing coal and nuclear power plants to shut down over the last several years.

It also contradicts comments Energy Secretary Rick Perry has made suggesting federal subsidies for wind and solar help shut down coal and nuclear plants.

Bottom line: The report's findings, though not newsy in and of themselves, are notable because they show the Trump administration adhering to objective data despite rhetoric suggesting it might come to more politically driven results criticizing renewable energy.