The future is coal

For all the talk of windmills and other devices, the U.S. Energy Department agrees with China that the basis of electric power generation far into the future will be coal. More than half of U.S. electricity comes from coal and this will continue because it is plentiful, cheap, and – unlike oil and wind – a reliable and secure source. Since 2008, 16 coal-fired plants have opened, 16 more are under construction, and the efficiency of such plants is set to double in the next 10 years. The goal of “clean coal” remains elusive but legislation to place serious limits on carbon emissions through regulation and penalties like cap and trade are doomed to fail. Barring a willingness of the public to pay hugely increased power bills, the US (and Scotland) has little choice but to generate power by the most convenient means – coal.


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