Thursday, October 23, 2014

So You Think We're Reducing The Use Of Coal? -- Think Again

James Conca has a lesson at Forbes to lessen exuberance at reports of China reducing coal use.

So You Think We're Reducing The Use Of Coal? -- Think Again:
Of all energy sources, coal is the easiest to set up. The easiest to transport – by ship, rail and truck. It is straightforward to build a coal-fired power plant. And to operate it.
Image from Forbes article
While it is even easier to build a natural gas-fired power plant, it is not at all easy to support it. Natural gas requires more infrastructure than any other energy source – for transporting the gas in pipelines, liquefying facilities and special terminals; and for storing it, often deep underground in geologic formations like salt caverns. These limitations are slowing even America’s expansion of natural gas.
Nuclear is the most difficult to build in the developing world. In the developing world, large-scale renewables are not effective since there is no baseload to support them, no back-up sources to load-follow the intermittency, and no extensive high-voltage distribution system. Hydro is possible, but is limited geographically and physiographically.
No, coal is the obvious energy source to bring a country’s starving people up into the modern world. After that, they may have the luxury to care about the planet.
Just ask China.
Read the entire article at Forbes

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