Coal-fired Power On the Increase — And With It CO2 Emissions

-Read this and then go back and read The Power of Green. The China Price is the key factor here – and we currently don’t have a way to deflect that bullet.

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According to a report by the Natural Resources Defence Council, 39% of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere from all sources in the United States in 2004 originated from the top 100 US electric power producers. Given that figure and all the recent media attention on climate change, one would think that US electric utility companies would be taking serious proactive steps to reduce their CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, the reality is quite different.

According to a March 22, 2007 article in the Christian Science Monitor, Global Boom in Coal Power and Emissions“, 37 countries plan to add new coal-fired capacity over the next 5 years. This is worrisome since burning coal generates 6% more CO2 per kilowatt-hour than burning petroleum and 52% more CO2 than natural gas (from the US Energy Information Agency). On a worldwide basis, the shift to more coal-fired power plants will result in an additional 1.2 billion tons of CO2 missions per year by 2011. The United States will have the largest increase in CO2 emissions from new coal-fired electric power plants on both a percentage and an absolute tonnage basis where nearly 38,000 megawatts of new coal-fired capacity is slated to come online resulting in an additional 230 million tons of CO2 emissions per year. Worldwide, by 2012, there will be approximately 7500 coal-fired power plants emitting 9 billion tons of CO2 annually, compared to 31 billion tons from all sources.

The central driver behind more coal-fired power generation is coal’s lower price per kilowatt and greater price stability over natural gas and petroleum fuel. Plus coal is abundantly available and poses fewer national security issues.

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