in short, the coal and oil companies will have to compete with other energy technologies and infrastructure in the marketplace, without government assistance. This means significant mark-ups on pricing, less stability in the short term, and a new relationship between government and mixed public/private energy infrastructure.
I see this transition as necessary and inevitable, but others would strongly disagree.
With the historical relationship, the US energy system has grown dependent upon subsidies from the gov. This ultimately make them fragile in a competative marketplace, because they have not needed to develop certain business stratagies that make them more resilient. It also breeds a tendancy to play it safe, and not to innovate. This has caused a stagnation in development new energy technologies other than fossil fuels.
I agree with you that this transition away from coal is both necessary and inevitable. Unfortunately as you have stated our energy infrastructure is heavily tied to coal power. As is our politicians accept money from coal lobbyists to help fund their campaigns which can effect the way they vote. I think we are a long way off from cutting the subsidies we hand out to coal but I think we are moving in the right direction. Obama seems like he is pretty firm on implementing a nuclear plan which could shift our infrastructure away from coal and hopefully dry up some of these subsidies as well. It will be interesting to see what happens as we try and shift to an energy infrastructure that produces less carbon.
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