Let the market decide
We Energies is closing the Pleasant Prairie coal plant and working with the union to get employees work at other energy sites. Meanwhile, some leaders have called for opening more coal-powered energy plants as a way to create jobs, or more likely as a way to garner political support. This is an uphill battle.
Nationwide, 266 coal plants are slated for closure. Cheaper alternative forms of energy are available. Coal plants are also not the job generators they used to be as they become more and more automated.
In contrast, skilled labor is available in other energy sectors as we engineer increasingly efficient and more innovative ways to power our lives. Current large-scale energy projects globally can be compared to the large infrastructure projects that took place in our country during and after the Great Depression. Hoover Dam employed many and was an impressive project many see as a credit to human ingenuity. Similarly impressive more recent accomplishments include the world’s largest landfill gas recuperation plant in Whittier, Calif. Skilled labor constructed a 500-foot-long wave power plant in the Atlantic and numerous large-scale solar projects are being built worldwide.
Our leaders in government would be better off discontinuing the practice of picking winners and losers. We subsidize outdated, more expensive forms of energy to the tune of trillions globally. Despite this, coal plants are closing and cheaper energy is winning out as driven by consumer demand. Why fight it? Let the market decide.