The article on Coals Last Stand was a particular treat. There were the obligatory buzzword titles to appeal to those who don't care to think or read informative copy. There were also a couple of facts that made it hard to see how the environmental left can truly believe the story line they continue to tell. Like many mainstream writers, we can see the story line try to weave the expected outcome in and out of the facts. The hard part is that the facts usually can tell their own story. Let's deconstruct the story.
The passionate descriptions of the coal business, and the terms and titles that get in the way of understanding what is at stake start with the title "Big Coal's Last Stand". As if the environmentalist would approve of a little coal plant. Using the "Big Business" moniker to paint them as an evil big business ends several pages later by describing their product as a "demon rock".
But there is also some good data. The writer notes that even through the media war on low cost energy (coal), that coal's market share has returned to the 44% which is near it's historical high. The fact that cannot be denied is that coal is cheap and supplies an enormous amount of our nations energy--44% to be sure. Low cost coal powered energy powers our economy. President Obama and the EPA's war on coal is one of the government actions that is keeping our economy stale and stagnant. The point is also thinly made that the EPA is releasing new rules to end coal power. This is also true. The new EPA rules have already driven electricity costs in 2015 higher. As coal plants schedule to go offline due to the new EPA MACT rules the generation market is showing the capacity shortfall and the prices are skyrocketing. Capacity (which is about 25% of your power costs) have doubled in some areas.
The article hints that the replacement technology is renewable energy, but stops short of explaining that the cost of renewable energy as a replacement technology is 3 to 10 times more expensive. Renewable energy is no where near being capable of providing base-load reliability at a cost that is economically feasible.
The reality is that coal is one of our best short term options and should be leveraged in the short term energy picture while we search for the permanent replacement high density energy source. Coal is 93% more clean that it was 40 years ago and we have more coal than anyone in the world--which is another great point in the article.
If you want to get some great data, I would recommend you visit the Institute for Energy Research at http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/. They do a great job of presenting facts and letting you make up your own mind. Second, visit the shell energy posts last month to see how much energy we are going to need in the future. Lastly, get the book named for this blog, because it will help you decode the mainstream writing on the energy topic.