An excellent post by Clem Guttata over at West Virginia Blue. The short answer to the question is Hell No, coal aint economical and its tearing up our mountains, time to move on!
by: Clem Guttata
Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 18:08:43 PM EST
|By Clem GuttataI posted a version of this diary at DailyKos on Saturday morning. Thank you to everyone who engaged in a constructive dialogue on the topic there and on Facebook over the weekend.
The Obama administration and leading figures in Congress are still pushing for tens of billions of dollars of investments in “cleaner coal.” With a pause in consideration on the energy and climate change legislation, it’s a good time to ask… just what we would we get in return for that investment?
For those who like to cut to the chase, here’s the short answer. Carbon capture and storage is risky and expensive. Coal to liquid only makes sense if you ignore carbon emissions or if expect we’ll lose access to foreign sources of oil. But, read on. There’s another major challenge you probably aren’t aware of.
As a starting point, read what James B. Meigs writes in Popular Mechanics, “The Myth of Clean Coal: Analysis”…
The Meigs piece is good at laying out the basics of carbon capture and storage, but an even more detailed look at the economics is provided by Richard Heinberg, writing for the Solutions Journal. (All emphasis in quotes is mine.)
Back in April, Democrat Rep. Nick Rahall (WV-03), spoke to this unpleasant truth. He noted “the state’s most productive coal seams likely will be exhausted in 20 years.” The backlash from in-state coal interests was strong. Rahall has not spoken about coal supplies since, and for that brief moment of truth his consequence is a coal-industry funded primary challenger.