Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Coal: From 49% to 47% US Power Generation Over the Next 20 Years

Currently, coal-fired plants produce just under 50 percent of America's electricity. Renewables, other than hydroelectric, produce 3.4 percent of our electric power. _ Reason
Yes, that's right. In the US coal's share of power generation will drop a whopping 2% over the next 20 years, according to the EIA. The alternative to coal is an energy starvation that the US economy would never recover from.
In early 2008, Obama told the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle, "If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."

Coal is cheap, but CCS (carbon sequestration) is not. Currently, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) estimates suggest that the cost of electricity from new coal plants designed for CCS will be 40-80 percent higher than from conventional coal-fired electric power plants. It's not just the extra capital costs, but also the additional 30 percent of energy it takes to capture, compress, and transport the carbon dioxide emissions. EPRI analysts believe that it might be possible to cut the energy penalty from 30 percent to 15 percent eventually. _Reason
As you know if you are an AFE reader, IGCC is a highly efficient form of utilising coal for power generation. Coal is gasified to syngas, syngas is fired in a gas turbine, and the resultant heat boils steam for a steam turbine. The CCS is an add-on carbon sequestration step to satisfy the carbon hysterics who are taking over the asylum. CCS takes away much of the efficiency of IGCC. Go figure.

The good thing about carbon sequestration is that CO2 can be used to feed algae for biofuels and other valuable processes. So eventually, the insanity can be put to good use.

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