Skip to comments.Obama Delivers a Death Blow to the Coal Industry
Posted on 03/30/2012 5:03:44 AM PDT by SJackson
The coal industry and coal-fired power has been dealt a series of body blows by the Obama administration over the last four years. Yesterday, the EPA delivered the coup de grace to coal, in the form of a new rule that unless overturned by Congress or a future administration will ensure that no new, modern coal-fired power plants will be built in the United States.
The EPA released Subpart TTTT of New Source Performance Standards yesterday, a proposed rule that limits carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants. No coal-fired power plant can meet the emission limit (1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of power produced), but natural gas-fired power plants can. This will lead to some significant changes in the power energy once the rule goes final, sometime next year.
It is now estimated that around 50,000 to 80,000 megawatts of coal fired power will be retired from the grid over the next few years. Coal fired power is base load power (that is, power that has to be available all of the time) and neither solar nor wind can provide base load power anywhere but in the Presidents green fantasies. Biomass (wood, energy crops, etc.) can provide base load power, but theres not nearly enough of the fuel to replace so much coal. More nuclear power could easily shoulder the load, but theres no way that we can permit and build enough nuclear plants in the time available. That leaves natural gas as the only fuel that can possibly be used to replace all of that coal.
Right now, natural gas is looking pretty good. Thanks to shale gas, we have abundant supplies (over one hundred years of proven reserves, even in the worst-case demand scenario) and prices are incredibly low. New, highly efficient combined-cycle gas-fired power plants are actually competitive with coal-fired power at todays prices.
Replacing all of that coal with natural gas should soothe global warming alarmists as well. (I say should because everyone knows that the environmental doom industry cannot and will not ever admit that it is satisfied with any level of reductions until were living in caves.) Natural gas generates much less carbon dioxide per unit of energy as compared to coal and, as noted above, natural gas-fired power plants can be much more efficient. The combination of these two effects means that carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, which have been declining for the last five years in any case, will drop even more precipitously in the future.
So, one might be tempted to ask: whats the big deal? If natural gas is cheap and if burning natural gas might cause at least a few hysterical enviro-types to lower the volume of their incessant shrieking just a tad, its all good right? Well, not quite.
Historically, natural gas prices have been very volatile and, despite the current glut, there is no reason to believe that supply will so greatly outstrip demand in the long run. The big energy players in natural gas, companies like Chesapeake, Cabot and Chevron, are working hard to create new markets, increase demand and thus get prices back up. A major South African chemical company recently announced plans to build a plant here that will produce gasoline from natural gas feedstock. Several players in the energy market are in the initial stages of planning Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals with exports to Europe and Asia in mind. There are plans in the works to create more natural gas infrastructure so that the nations truck fleet will convert over from diesel to natural gas.
Perhaps most importantly, using natural gas to generate thousands of megawatts of power will consume huge quantities of the fuel, thus necessarily causing prices to rise as more new power plants come on line. Its no surprise that the two big manufacturers of natural gas fired-turbines GE and Siemens have been flooding the airwaves with commercials extolling the virtues of their wares. Both companies stand to make a whole lot of money in the next few years thanks to the Obama administrations all-out war on coal.
In contrast to the volatility of natural gas prices, coal prices have always been pretty steady. Thus the coal fleet (along with the nuclear fleet) has helped to dampen out any fluctuations in natural gas that affects that relatively small portion of energy production in the United States. As we shift away from coal and put more of the energy burden on natural gas, electricity prices are likely to fluctuate more than they ever have and are likely to increase substantially over the long term as well.
Its a shame that were knowingly abandoning such a cheap, reliable and plentiful resource like coal in a foolish effort to fulfill a ridiculous crusade led by eco-puritans. Its maddening that such a decision was made not by Congress, nor by the voters, but by a few faceless bureaucrats hiding behind global-warming pseudo-science that has become the twenty-first centurys version of alchemy. But thats where we are and, unless something changes this November, thats where were likely to be for quite a while.
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Article printed from FrontPage Magazine: http://frontpagemag.com
URL to article: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/03/30/obama-delivers-a-death-blow-to-coal-industry/
This will not stand.
How much did that oil baron, Pickton, pay Obama to do this?
At least, I think that’s his name.
When the Japanese evacuate their radio active homeland...
Coal miner’s and their Union Bosses knew this was coming and still chose to vote for this b - - - - - d!!
T. Boone Pickens?
The hole in Mr. Trzupek’s logic is that there are also enviro-nuts who are against fracking for natural gas. Once the coal industry is dead & buried (to accommodate Obama’s wishes), the wackos will just move on to their next crusade to destroy an energy source.
I think you might mean T. Boone Pickens...
Yes. He was big into the alternate energies and he’s also big in natural gas. I also read that he’s a supporter of Obama.
I think it’s reasonable to say he is motivated to support Obama.
This is step one. The next step will be to reduce emissions so natural gas does not fit as well. Then all power plants would then have to be generated using windmills and sun panels. Bank on it.
That is exactly whom I mean.
This should be no surprise to the West Virginia assholes that voted for Obama in 2008. The idiots.
:: over one hundred years of proven reserves ::
At today’s demand and allowing for normal increases over 100 years.
Turning the electrical generation industry and the long-haul trucking industry to NG is not provided for in the estimation above.
He's former president of the UMWA?
I guess the SOBs their coming to get are the miners.
“The power to regulate is the power to destroy.”
I think that I would not feel badly if obama were to have a cardiac episode that would end his life.
Recall: during the campaign in '08, 0bama said he was going to kill the coal industry, yet Pennsylvania went for this commie. If those that will be losing jobs, etc. due to the usurper are seeking sympathy, I suggest talking to your union bosses, because there is none here.
Well, probably not Illinois.
State (annual short tons)
West Virginia (158,257)
North Dakota (31,270)
New Mexico (27,323)
If voters had a brain this would cost Obumble WV,VA,PA,OH,KY, and TN at the least.
Natural gas has MUCH higher value for heating our offices and homes. It is sheer lunacy to use it to make electricity when we have so much abundant coal. Each resource should be applied to its highest value use.
It’s been said we have 100 years of natural gas reserves. That will go by in a flash and then what exactly will fill the pipelines?