Moody’s: Trump’s climate plan only slows coal’s downward spiral

Source: By John Siciliano and Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner • Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2018

 Trump’s climate rule reboot will slow the decline in coal use over the last decade, but it won’t do much to reverse the shift toward more natural gas and renewables, reported credit-ratings giant Moody’s on Monday.

“We view the proposed approach as a less stringent form of regulation and much more moderate than the [Clean Power Plan],” the Moody’s analysis said. “As a result, we do not expect it to have much of an adverse effect, if any, on the operation or the economics of coal plants.”

The Moody’s report is its first analysis of the Affordable Clean Energy Rule’s effects on the financial standing of coal companies since it was first proposed on Aug. 21.

Good news for some producers, but not enough: The credit-rating firm declared the Trump plan “credit positive” for coal’s big producers, such as the mining firm Peabody Energy, in addition to power plant operators such as NRG Energy and Chief Power Finance. “But over a longer horizon the economic case against coal remains largely intact,” it said, meaning the decline in coal use can be slowed somewhat, but not reversed.