There are changes already occurring within the United States that will cause a lifestyle-altering shift within the coal industry and  exchange traded funds (ETFs).

The coal industry dominated much of the state of Kentucky, and also controls much of the nation’s energy source. However, the revamped energy agenda proposed by the Obama administration could potentially change things forever. Re-envisioned energy policies focused heavily on renewable resources and new ways of storing carbon emissions could leave the coal industry in a pile of ashes – or not.

The Department of Energy is expected to announce soon whether it will use $1 billion in stimulus funds to resurrect FutureGen, which is a proposal to create in Illinois the world’s first coal-fired power plant designed to capture and bury carbon emissions underground, reports Halimah Abdullah for The Miami Herald.

Kentucky was once in line for the plant, but the Bush administration decided not to build it, citing cost overruns that sent the price tag soaring to $1.8 billion. The Government Accountability Office said the real cost is closer to $1.3 billion, and that the Bush administration’s overestimation coupled with a decision to not build the plant pushed the country’s “clean coal” efforts back a decade.

The Obama administration seems to be making up for lost time, and is promising to make good on a campaign pledge to implement a “cap-and-trade” program.

  • Market Vectors Coal ETF (KOL): up 1.5% year-to-date; up 19.2% in the last two weeks

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.