One of the biggest ironies to start this decade is the transition from fossil fuel generation to green energy has created a global energy crisis that is forcing the U.S., among many other countries, to restart coal-fired power plants monumentally ahead of the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere to prevent electricity shortages.
The virtue-signaling assault by the green lobby spearheaded by hapless puppet Greta Thunberg must beside herself as U.S. power plants are on course to burn 23% more coal this year, the first increase since 2013, despite President Biden's ambitious plan for a national grid to run on 100% clean energy by 2035.
A global energy crunch is rippling through the world amid a huge rebound for power. Natural gas has soared to record highs as supplies remain tight, and countries are finding out that renewable energy sources aren't as reliable as previously thought. This has created a massive worldwide scramble by power companies for fossil fuels, especially coal.
U.S. utilities are transitioning to coal because soaring natural gas prices make it uneconomic to produce electricity. At the moment, 25% of all U.S. electricity produced is derived from coal-fired plants, up ten percentage points since the beginning of COVID.
"The markets have spoken," Rich Nolan, the National Mining Association chief executive officer, told Bloomberg. "We're seeing the essential nature of coal come roaring back." The Energy Information Administration forecasts U.S. utilities are estimated to burn 536.9 million short tons of thermal coal, up from 436.5 million in 2020.
Ernie Thrasher, CEO of Xcoal Energy & Resources, the largest U.S. exporter of fuel, said demand for coal will remain robust well into 2022. Last week, he warned about domestic supply constraints and power companies already "discussing possible grid blackouts this winter."
He said, "They don't see where the fuel is coming from to meet demand," adding that 23% of utilities are switching away from gas this fall/winter to burn more coal. There are not enough coal miners to rapidly increase mining output.
Kevin Book, managing director of research firm ClearView Energy Partners, said the decarbonization communication from Western governments would undoubtedly be challenged due to the energy crisis it has sparked.
"The goal of policy, if you listen to what's being said in Western countries in the context of climate discussions, is not only to stop building new coal but to eliminate the existing capacity to burn coal," Book said. "This is a moment in time when that idea is going to be challenged."
One thing Greta and the wealthy elite that likely fund her campaign to reeducate younger generations into believing the green energy transition will be seamless is that it won't and may take decades.
A pure-play coal company that is already benefiting from the demand surge and rising prices is Peabody Energy Corporation. As cooler weather fast approaches, the company may see increased demand for its thermal coal that utility companies use to produce electricity. On a technical basis, a so-called bullish "golden cross" was just triggered.
"Make Coal Great Again," former President Trump used to tell crowds a few years back at rallies in West Virginia. We're sure it's boom times in the Appalachia hills.