• 5 minutes Oil prices forecast
  • 8 minutes Nuclear Power Can Be Green – But At A Price
  • 11 minutes Projection Of Experts: Oil Prices Expected To Stay Anchored Around $65-70 Through 2023
  • 16 minutes Europe Slipping into Recession?
  • 47 mins *Happy Dance* ... U.S. Shale Oil Slowdown
  • 1 day U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Weighs Lifting Tariffs On China
  • 4 hours Socialists want to exorcise the O&G demon by 2030
  • 23 hours Chevron to Boost Spend on Quick-Return Projects
  • 8 hours Germany: Russia Can Save INF If It Stops Violating The Treaty
  • 17 hours Connection Between Climate Rules And German's No-Limit Autobahns? Strange, But It Exists
  • 7 hours Maritime Act of 2020 and pending carbon tax effects
  • 1 day UK, Stay in EU, Says Tusk
  • 23 hours Conspiracy - Theory versus Reality
  • 2 days What will Saudi Arabia say? Booming Qatar-Turkey Trade To Hit $2 bn For 2018
  • 1 day Regular Gas dropped to $2.21 per gallon today
  • 2 days German Carmakers Warning: Hard Brexit Would Be "Fatal"
Alt Text

India’s Coal Reliance Deepens

Despite significant efforts to boost…

Alt Text

Could China Save The U.S. Coal Industry?

In a somewhat surprising move,…

David Gabel

David Gabel

David is a writer at Environmental News Network

More Info

Trending Discussions

U.S. Coal Industry Suffering from Low Natural Gas Prices and Environmental Opposition

The Washington Post has announced that in 2010, not a single new coal-fired power plant was constructed in the United States. This marks the second year in a row in which this has occurred. Coal remains the most abundantly used source of electricity, accounting for half of all power generation. However, a number of factors, such as the economy, lower natural gas prices, and environmentalist opposition, have effectively halted the growth of the coal industry.

Coal is being dumped in favor of natural gas, which due to extensive exploration and production, has a significantly lower price than in the past. Much of the new gas production is in shale rock, which have recently been unlocked due to new technologies. Reserves of shale gas are believed to be vast in North America and elsewhere, rivaling the oil reserves of the Middle East.

America's largest electricity generator, American Electric Power (AEP), plans to turn to natural gas for any additional electrical capacity. The price of natural gas straight from the wellhead stood at about $4.25 per thousand cubic feet in 2010, well below its historic average price. According to a report from Deutsche Bank, if gas prices stay below $6, more plants will be converting from coal to gas.

"Coal is a dead man walkin'," says Kevin Parker, global head of asset management and a member of the executive committee at Deutsche Bank. "Banks won't finance them. Insurance companies won't insure them. The EPA is coming after them...And the economics to make it clean don't work."

But coal is not completely dead yet. Last year, the coal industry managed to kill the climate legislation (cap and trade) in the US Senate, showing it still has a lot of influence in politics and public opinion. Plus, even as it declines, it remains the number one source of electricity in America.

However, the coal industry is under a heavy assault from the Environmental Protection Agency. Starting this year, new EPA regulations take effect to lower greenhouse gas emissions of power plants emitting over 75,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. Such a rule would force industry to install state-of-the-art emissions controls on new construction in order to obtain the necessary air permits. For a dirty fossil fuel like coal, the added cost of new controls can make it economically prohibitive, accelerating the conversion to natural gas.

Fights among lawmakers and in the courts can be expected as the new regulations begin to take effect. Many Republicans plan to block or hamstring the EPA's efforts. Nevertheless, overall demand for coal power is decreasing in the United States. From 2000 to 2008, 19 new coal-fired plants were constructed. In 2010, plans to build 38 new plants were abandoned, and an additional 48 plants were mothballed. For the sake of the environment, let's hope this trend continues.

By. David Gabel

Source: Environmental News Network




Back to homepage

Trending Discussions


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News