The backbone of our modern civilization is based on relatively cheap and abundant energy. Coal has been the inexpensive and reliable engine of our economy for generations and up until the 70’s, billowing smokestacks were the sign of economic prosperity for the United States and other developed countries.
But we learned that cheap energy from burning coal and other fossil fuels came with a price tag to our environment and the dirty skies over our cities, proved to be hazardous to our health. The very fuel that powered our modern society was poisoning our environment.
In response, governments and the energy industry set about to enact new standards for energy production. Soon the air in big cities started to clear up and you could even swim again in rivers that were once deemed too polluted to set foot in.
Smokestacks that once billowed thick black smoke, become steam stacks. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that air quality in major American cities is better now than at any time in the last two decades.
Human ingenuity is amazing and when pushed, great advances can be achieved. Coal which has been the poster child of demonization by environmentalists on the left has made tremendous advances in clean burning technology. After 40 years of advances, clean coal power is on the cusp of making new strides in providing the planet with relatively clean and massive amounts of energy.
See: Fueling the Future with 21st Century Coal by Gregory H. Boyce
Now is not the time to demonize coal but to nurture and support the new coal technology that can help power humanity out of poverty throughout the world.
Energy is looked upon as a human right; studies show that each tenfold increase in electricity is linked to a 10-year increase in life. The United Nations linked life expectancy, educational attainment, and income with per capita energy use….So why deny the rest of the world the same life expectancy the US and other developed nations enjoy?
The developing world wants to step into the modernity of the 21st century too; they want lights, refrigeration, air conditioning television and modern medicine as well. …..Clean coal power can be their answer.
Coal power lead the greatest mass migration from human poverty into prosperity as China became a manufacturing behemoth. China is building more ultra modern supercritical and ultra-supercritical coal plants than any other nation in the world. China has also said they will decommission their older power plants and adapt modern emissions control to the existing fleet of coal power plants.
Instead of punishing their main source of cheap reliable energy, China is embracing coal to adapt and modernize….to make it a 21st century fuel that will bring clean economic prosperity to their 1.3 billion people.
Next-generation clean coal plants are capable of producing energy at near-zero emissions. With new technology at work to help coal become even cleaner and more efficient…..
Unless “renewable” forms of energy such as wind and solar, achieve significant breakthroughs in technology, they will never be able to compete with clean coal power on a level playing field.
Already countries such as Spain and Germany, which heavily invested in renewables, have started to have second thoughts as the bills come due for years of subsidizing these forms of energy. Germany’s finance minister even declared solar was the path to bankruptcy. See story. Spain under a new government is backing out of commitments it made to renewables and is actually going to make them pay taxes. See story
From the excellent piece “The Fundamental Limitations of Renewable Energy” posted in the Energy Collective: “It appears unlikely that we will see a large scale market driven displacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy in the first half of this century.”