Owners of the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona are considering closing down this coal-fired power plant, which ranks 7th in terms of how much carbon dioxide it releases into the atmosphere in the US. If it closes, it could help solve the issue of pollution and haze near the Grand Canyon. This move is based off of the knowledge that our energy economy is changing, and a more cost-effective way of creating energy is through resources such as natural gas. Natural gas is also more eco-friendly -- it releases about half the amount of carbon dioxide that coal does. And, coal power plants are simply too expensive to build and operate. There were 353 coal-fired plants in operation in 2005, and by 2015, 97 of those had closed. Trump's and his administration are at odds with many major energy companies, because he isn't supportive of more renewable energy sources, and believes climate change is fake. He's promised to bring coal plants back to coal country, by destroying Obama's Clean Power Plan, but at the same time, these regions also rely on natural gas for job opportunities.
The challenge for Donald Trump is going to be whether he decides to understand that natural gas and renewable energy is the way of the future, and act on that knowledge, or keep his original promises of more coal, and risk further damaging the world and contributing to global warming. Now that he's President, his opinions and ideas affect more than just himself. He may come to realize that what he thinks is best, may not truly be the best for everyone or everything. Something as large-scale as renewable energy should not be taken lightly. These decisions change our economy, our energy system, and most importantly, our planet.
This article stood out to me among the many others because we just spent a unit discussing coal as an energy source, so I thought it would be interesting to read about a real-life application of what we just learned. It also related what we learned in the classroom to the new presidency, and discussions that are being had right now about clean energy. I think this is a really important conversation to be had, because a lot is at stake. These days, everyone is so reliant on energy, that we need to figure out the most effective way to get people what they need. The problem is, the methods that we currently have in place are proving very harmful to the environment, and are putting the lifespan of Earth at risk. Any changes that can be made in a positive direction towards, cleaner, renewable energy are beneficial, no matter how small. Closing down coal-fired power plants is a start.