The popularity of coal as an energy source in the U.S. is largely due to its relatively low cost. The cost of electricity produced from coal was estimated at about 3.29 U.S. dollar cents per kilowatt hour in 2014. In 2017, one metric ton of thermal coal cost about 88.4 U.S. dollars. Coal consumption is rapidly decreasing in the United States due to increased availability of renewables and natural gas, as well as stronger environmental regulations.
Coal plants in the United States have been the focus of recent energy policy under the Trump administration. A large majority of coal plants in the U.S. where regulators set rates have operating expenses that exceed revenue. In these regions, utilities and regulators often force plants to stay open in order to maintain grid stability. Despite this, many utilities are planning to retire coal plants while replacing them with natural gas and renewables.