General Electric, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of coal-fired power plants, announced Monday it would no longer build such facilities.
It’s a remarkable exit that will have far-reaching consequences on the coal industry as more and more utilities are increasingly shifting away from coal-fired generation.
“GE will continue to focus on and invest in its core renewable energy and power generation businesses, working to make electricity more affordable, reliable, accessible, and sustainable,” the company said in a release, adding that it will still service existing coal power plants.
“GE’s steam power business will work with customers on existing obligations as it pursues this exit, which may include divestitures, site closings, job impacts and appropriate considerations for publicly held subsidiaries.”
GE also produces equipment for nuclear plants as well as wind turbines.
Despite efforts from the Trump administration to bolster the coal industry, market forces have pushed utilities to cheaper, cleaner forms of electricity, with many utilities opting to retire coal-fired power plants early.
Last year coal production fell to the lowest level since 1978, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Coal production in 2019 was just 7 percent lower overall than production in 2018, part of a larger trend of coal production easing since production peaked in 2008. Production is expected to decline again this year.