When it comes to electric generation, the gap continues to widen between the energy goals of the federal government and the goals of many states. The starkest example of this gap is the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE)’s efforts in the last year or so to promote coal-fired power plants, at a time when many states are moving in the opposite direction and promoting renewable and zero-carbon sources of energy like solar and wind. Last year, DOE attempted to create subsidies for coal-fired power plants, as well as nuclear power plants, on the theory that these baseload power sources are necessary to ensure grid reliability. A number of states, on the other hand, have policies that favor decreasing our reliance on coal, because it is not renewable and it produces significant amounts of greenhouse gases and other forms of air pollution. In fact, two states—California and Hawaii—have effectively banned the use of coal after 2045 by requiring 100 percent zero-carbon electricity for their states by that date.
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