By James Osborne
June 11, 2019 - Despite efforts by the Trump administration to revive the U.S. coal industry, the nation's appetite for coal continues its long decline.
Last year domestic coal consumption fell to 687 million short tons, the lowest level since 1978, according to data released Monday by the Department of Energy.
That comes amidst efforts by the Department of Energy to improve the efficiency and reduce the carbon emissions of coal-fired power plants, which have been closing at a fast clip nationwide due to increased competition from natural gas and wind and solar farms.
The Energy Department announced Monday it was handing out $39 million in funding, part of a push to improve efficiency five percent by 2020.
"The Trump Administration remains committed to ensuring a coal-fueled power plant fleet that provides stable energy to the power grid," Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg said in a statement.
The power sector accounts for more than 80 percent of domestic coal production, which fell to less than 760 million short tons last year. Of the remainder, 50 million short tons was purchased by U.S. industrial facilities, and another 115 million short tons was shipped overseas.