re: coal mines closing because of cheap renewables: That is probably overstated

Rex Weyler

re: coal mines closing because of cheap renewables: That is probably overstated, and it would be worth it for our networks of ecology minded people to understand this:  [see]

Yes, “renewable” (actually “rebuildable,” since these systems have about an 80-year life cycle) energy production is growing, but fossil fuel energy production is still growing faster, including coal.
Just the growth in total energy consumption (mostly fossil fuels) in the last 2 years equals the total 2016 renewable energy production. The growth in fossil fuel production alone, in the last 4 years is greater than the total 2016 wind and solar production. The total increase in global energy consumption over the last 5 years is 64% more than the total output of all non-hydro renewables in 2016.
And these “renewable” figures include biofuels, which in most cases provide zero net energy because of the energy required to produce them, so they are really just an energy conversion system. The “renewables” also include biomass, which is only renewable at the rate that forests grow, but we’re losing 15-million hectares of forest every year, so we’re really just talking about wind and solar as genuinely renewable (rebuildable). Hydro is nice, but dams destroy rivers, and they silt up, as many old dams are, and we’ve already dammed the most productive rivers. 
The bottom line: Wind an​d​ solar are added energy, to the human energy consumption pool; they are not yet “replacing” any fossil fuel. No sense fooling ourselves about this. If we do not promote and achieve a large scale contraction of human activity (consumption, sprawl, population growth, economic growth) we are not going to slow global warming or avoid collapse. 
(Data from BP World Energy Review, 2017; chart by Dave Hughes, Canadian petroleum engineer.)