June 18 — Coal still accounts for 24 percent of America’s electricity. What is more, coal plants — along with nuclear and large natural gas facilities — constitute “base-load” power that is critical for maintaining grid stability and reliability. Unlike intermittent wind and solar, coal plants are “always on.” And unlike natural gas plants, they keep months of fuel on site, providing essential security and resiliency for a grid increasingly dependent on just-in-time fuel delivery. However, with more than half the states having partially or totally deregulated their power markets, often no mechanism exists to ensure the economic viability of base-load generation that must compete with cheap natural gas and subsidized renewables.

— The Hill