Winner And Loser: Slashing Coal-Power Use, GE Closing PA Plant

This week's winner is a trio of states that have slashed their use of reliance on coal power since 2007; this week's loser is closing a factory that will put 250 people out of a job.

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This week's winner is a trio of states that have slashed their use of reliance on coal power since 2007; this week's loser is closing a factory that will put 250 people out of a job.

Winner

On Monday the Associated Press shared the details of a new federal report that shows three states — Ohio, Pennslyvania and Indiana — led the country in reducing their amount of consumption of coal for electricity generation between 2007 and 2015

The U.S. Energy Information Administration's report showed that Ohio led the way by cutting its coal-to-electricity usage by 49 percent, followed by Pennslyvania at 44 percent and Indiana at 37.

The AP cited Jodi Perras, Indiana's representative for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign, saying the report offers the latest evidence that coal-fired power plants are on the way out in the U.S. amid a changing energy market and stronger federal regulations on the pollutants those plants release.

"Coal is in decline. This is happening across the country because there are much cheaper and cleaner ways to generate electricity. These market forces are forcing coal out of the market," Perras told the AP.

Loser

On Wednesday the Associated Press reported that General Electric is closing a Pittsburgh-area solar power equipment factory, which will result in 250 of its 380 workers losing their jobs.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that GE plans to close the Blawnox plant by the end of 2016. GE will dispense severance packages and other benefits, including job search aid for those laid off workers.

The 130 workers that remain will keep jobs as U.S. Navy contractors and work in other Pittsburgh-area locations or move to Houston, which will be the new headquarters of GE's North American power conversion business.

The Blawnox plant makes inverters, which convert energy from direct to alternating current, or the opposite. The equipment is used in solar power generation. GE spokesperson said the company hired 130 people at the plant in the past year in anticipation of solar industry demand that never materialized.

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