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/
First the coal plant, next your wood stove, and we will all die from cold related starvation.
Obama did say before he was elected that he hoped to bankrupt the coal industry, and that energy prices under my administration “would necessarily skyrocket”. Obama’s words verbatum. You can even see the video of Obama saying this on Youtube. Now, how does a guy who probably knows nothing about coal industry or coal, come to despise them so much that he hopes to bankupt them, forcing tens of thousands into unemployment, making it more difficult and expensive for the average consumer to heat their homes? Answer: He is paying back his big environmentalist extremist donors who in turn, got most of their cash from Dr. Evil, George Soros. So in effect, George Soros is now controlling federal energy policy by putting whole energy industries out of business and this will eventually worsen and deepen the nation’s unemployment picture. Oh wait, I almost forgot in 20 years or so we will all heat and power our homes and run our cars with algae and solar and wind and biodegradable trash. I just can’t wait for that day — so exciting! In the meantime all we have to do is begin to save lots of our income (if we even have a job) to pay off that monthly home electric bill that will soon average about $600, because Obama thinks it’s better to bankrupt the coal industry than for Americans to have access to cheap energy. What in blazes were the American people thinking when they put this nincompoop in the White House??? I mean, Bush certainly wasn’t the greatest, but this guy is a complete disaster for anything that is good or valuble in America. Vote him the f**k out of there already!
District Judge Amy Jackson Friday said the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority in the retroactive veto of a permit for the Spruce No. 1 Coal mine in West Virginia. The decision states the EPA’s veto of the Spruce Mine permit was ‘unprecedented’ and it acted in a manner that was ‘arbitrary, capricious, and not in accordance with law.
But I don’t hear a word from the coal states.
This is one promise Skippy has kept. People of Pennsylvania and West Virginia, are you paying attention?
Get him out of here or we will be sitting in the dark and cold.
These are the same people who will claim that incandescent lights haven’t been banned. Oh no. They just passed efficiency rules that, under the laws of physics, no incandescent light can ever meet. But they’re not banned.
Hey, West Virginia...
How yinz likin’ yer Joe Manchin vote now???
We’ll burn all the NG and then go back to burning coal.
T. Boone Pickens?
This doesn’t help him; he is pushing Natural Gas to fuel vehicles.
This will close coal power plants and consume more natural gas to provide electrical power. It will raise the wholesale price of natural gas making less profit if used for vehicle fuel.
Then we’ll get the real life “Hunger Games”...
The following states should secede from the current count of 50 and form The Western States of America:
& possible Alaska.
Then they can use the resources they have, with no interference from the EPA. They have enough people to guard their borders. They can grow enough food & mine coal, gold, silver, copper, etc as needed. They can pipe it to refineries in Texas as they need.
I propose that Sheriff Joe Arpaio become the first head of true SECURITY for these states.
GEEE—7 of my choice of 15 states that should secede are on this coal production list.
Guess I hit a jackpot!!
Great idea. Then we can all have coal bins in our basements and enjoy shoveling the filthy stuff into our furnaces.