Wednesday's Intelligencer editorial (see post below) asserted a couple of points: the cost of electricity has risen dramatically since Obama became president, it would become worse under a Clinton presidency, and our only hope to prevent $1000 a month electric bills is to elect Donald Trump. I did a bit more research today and found a couple of additional articles that extend my analysis.
The cost of electricity, as I computed and wrote about yesterday, has stayed relatively constant over the course of the Obama presidency. If you use a shorter time frame, however, my conclusion may have been far too conservative. In examining just the last five years, an article in Bloomberg news documents a significant drop in the price of electricity. Note that the first paragraph of Wednesday's Bloomberg report looks to be describing one of our local editorials, news reports, or a press releases from Murray Energy:
Five years ago, opponents of newly proposed clean-air rules sounded dire warnings of blackouts and surging electricity prices if coal-burning plants were shuttered.
The next paragraph, however, describes what has actually happened:
Welcome to 2016. Instead of rising, the price of electricity in the nation’s largest grid is now 40 percent lower than it was back then, even as a record 346 coal-burning units, producing enough electricity to supply 40 million homes, were retired. The difference: America’s shale boom unleashed cheap and abundant natural gas that burns more cleanly than coal.
The article goes on to describe the rise in natural gas as well as the health benefits of using less coal. It's a good, well-researched article.
The second half of Wednesday's editorial supports the Trump candidacy because of his promise to revive the coal industry if elected president:
Good for Trump for standing up for coal miners. And good for him for being concerned about coal-reliant states such as ours.
Now, for the good of tens of millions of other Americans, he needs to get the message out to them.
An article in yesterday's online edition of Fortune magazine, however, would seem to contradict that advice. As its title asks:
Will Trump’s Focus on Coal Hurt Him Outside Appalachia?
The article makes what I think is an obvious point that being extremely pro-coal, as Trump has become, is not the way to get yourself elected outside of Appalachia:
Donald Trump is backing himself into a corner on energy issues by focusing heavily on coal-industry jobs at the expense of cleaner forms of energy, according to right-leaning campaign operatives.
Republican candidates generally have to thread a needle on energy issues to win in swing states, but Trump isn’t taking a very nuanced approach, said Rob Collins, a Republican campaign consultant who previously was executive director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. To win in swing states, Republicans generally have to support domestic production of affordable energy sources but also come across as forward-looking on clean energy, he said.
As the article points out, Trump's approach to energy is not very nuanced. (Just a thought -- can "nuanced" be applied to any Trump approach on any subject?) If he follows the editorial's advice and tries to spread that message, it will likely hurt his chances:
That approach is smart “only if you want to win Kentucky,” said Alex Gage, chief executive of TargetPoint Consulting. “And West Virginia.”
(Note -- Fortune is no tree-hugging, "radical-environmental" magazine. It has historically been a conservative magazine supporting American business, especially big business, interests.)
The local "newspapers" can rail all they want about the "rising cost of electricity" and use all the bogus evidence they can find or make up. They can support all the candidates, local and national, who somehow are going to "make coal great again" but it's too late -- the rest of the country, including lots of Republicans, have moved on.