"In 2008, coal represented about 52 percent of the nation’s electricity supply. By 2016, that share had fallen to 31 percent. Fifty-nine gigawatts, or about 17 percent of the nation’s coal-fired generating capacity, was retired and another 13 gigawatts switched to other fuels during that period," Ken Ward reports for the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia.
The report says that 38 percent of today's coal fleet faces an "uncertain future" because of high operating costs for some coal-powered plants and planned retirement or conversion to alternate fuel sources for others.
Coal jobs have been dwindling for years, though an increase in demand for steel-making coal has brought a recent uptick in jobs, according to U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data. "Most experts agree, though, that the coal downturn was driven mostly by competition from low-priced natural gas, and that any coal rebound is likely to be small and short-lived in the state," Ward reports.
USC, it must be noted, is pro-clean energy, but provides soundly-sourced data. The report was released Oct. 9, the day after Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the repeal of the Clean Power Plan.