No new coal-fired power plants broke ground in the US in 2010
under News January 4th, 2011 by IFandP Newsroom
As reported by the Washington Post, 2010 saw a conspicuous lack of ground-breaking as far as the construction of new coal-fired power plants was concerned.
The primary reasons appear to be a combination of reduced power demand created by the recession and the subsequent fall in natural gas prices, which have also been hit by growing unconventional gas production. In addition, staunch opposition from environmental groups and uncertainty over future EPA regulations.
The situation is complicated by the fact that carbon capture and sequestration for power plants has yet to be implemented on a commercial scale. The EPA now requires new coal-fired power plants emitting over 75,000tpa of CO2 to use the best available control technology adding to capital and running costs and the "drop-dead" date for full compliance is a challenging 2015.
However, in doing so, the agency has attracted the ire of Republican lawmakers who may work to limit its ability to impose such stringent measures. This will put them at loggerheads with President Obama who is looking to promote increasing natural gas use by utilities.
The story is particularly interesting for that bastion of coal production, West Virgina, where American Electric Power, is currently building a state of the art ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plant, but it has no other plans for coal-fuelled generation "at this time," according to Pat D. Hemlepp, a company spokesman. He has also said "the decline in demand has delayed the need for additional new generation."
According to the environmental pressure group Sierra Club, 2010 saw the abandonment of plans to build 38 coal-fired power plants, along with the retirement of 48.
On the other hand, the introduction of new EPA regulations created a scramble to obtain permits prior to their introduction and permits have been granted for projects in Texas, Kansas and Illinois. A project in Mississippi is expected to soon begin construction, although the Sierra Club is litigating to get the required permits revoked.
A report from Deutsche Bank published in November entitled "Natural Gas and Renewables: A Secure Low Carbon Future Energy Plan for the United States" highlights the potential for change over the next decade.
It indicates that the US has 60GW of coal-fired power plants that are over 60 years old and are expected to be retired by 2020, with a further 92GW of coal plants that are over 45 years old. Combined, these installations account for around 45% of total coal-fired power generating capacity in the US.
The report expects coal's share of power generation to drop to 22% by 2030, compared to the 47% seen in 2009, while the share of natural generation rises from 23% to 35% over the same period.
However, much will rest on whether the low natural gas prices seen over the course of 2010 are sustainable. In particular, there are question marks over whether unconventional gas plays can turn a profit over the long term at such prices and the ongoing recovery may work to boost demand for the fuel.
The term of "Clean Coal" is a gimmick. The cost of the energy needed to "clean" emissions from a coal-driven power plant would drive the price of the energy well above the price of even Nuclear Power -which emits to the atmosphere well over twice the heat per kilowatt produced by a coal power plant -directly increases Global Warming.
Only windmills and solar cells can rescue the planet and Denmark and Germany are the leaders in these techniques. England has the largest electric windmill in the world -owned by the Queen.
EPA made a survey in 1991 and found that S. Dakota, Kansas and Texas have enough wind power to meet all the electric power needs of the nation.
An MIT professor is trying to test barge-mounted windmills that would be out sight from the nearest beach and deliver all the power needed by coastal cities..
Currently, an off-shore high voltage power line is being planned to collect energy from barge windmills -off the East Coast. No similar plans for the West Coast.
A new version of barge-mounted windmills would use its own, free, electricity to convert water into oxygen and hydrogen and make it available to all nations to end their dependence on coal and oil. Service boats would bring the pure water and collect the free Hydrogen to power cars, trucks and electric power cells. Presently, power cells use expensive Hydrogen, this new source of Hydrogen would be worldwide and cheap.
Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8601-18560_162-4964301-2.html?assetTypeId=30#ixzz1KBYcg2PW