The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates the share of U.S. electricity generated from coal will fall from 42 percent in 2011 to 36.8 percent in 2013.
Some of that decline is due to advances in fracking making cheaper natural gas available. That's bad news for coal miners but no different than problems all industries face from competition.
Cheaper natural gas cannot explain all coal's decline, however. A federal study found that coal use in electricity declined just 1.4 percent for every 10 percent change in relative prices between the coal and natural gas. This is not surprising because electric plants cannot change from coal to natural gas by just throwing a switch.
An important reason for coal's decline is the administration's war on coal.Read More...