According to the Washington Examiner, following the White House meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping, China has not only agreed to purchase coal from the United States, but has instructed its customs department to return all coal imports from North Korea. This comes on the heels of a presidential campaign where Donald Trump promised that he would be good for U.S. coal producers. So far he appears to be making good on that promise, and it appears the Art of the Deal is being used to Make American Coal Great Again. This news also comes right after a missile attack on a Syrian airfield, a response the White House says is due to Assad using chemical weapons on military targets. The attack happened while President Xi was visiting Washington.
“U.S. coal production is expected to rise this year due in part to expected higher coal-fired electricity generation,” said acting EIA Administrator Howard Gruenspecht. At the same time, “the amount of electricity generated from natural gas this summer is forecast to be lower than last summer, reflecting higher natural gas prices,” he said. The summer is also expected to be cooler than last summer, the EIA said.
Natural gas has displaced coal as the top fuel for power generation in much of the U.S., but in recent weeks coal is beating out gas in some regions such as the East Coast.