Milwaukee Daily Reporter
It’s a dirty little secret: Coal plant construction is booming
Published: August 18, 2010
According to records examined by the AP, construction of old-style coal plants — with their accompanying carbon dioxide emissions — is experiencing its biggest boom in two decades.
A few eye-opening tidbits from the AP article:
– More than 30 traditional coal plants have been built since 2008 or are under construction, and those plants will generate amounts of greenhouse gas equal to putting 22 million more cars on the road.
– The Obama administration committed $3.4 billion in stimulus money for clean coal plants. That contrasts with more than $35 billion in new investments in the old-style coal plants.
– Because of rising costs to build the new old-style plants, consumers’ electricity bills in some areas served by the facilities will rise up to 30 percent.
– Widespread use of clean coal technologies in coal plants appears to be at least 15 to 20 years away.
Why is coal the fuel of choice for so many utility projects? Cost is the big reason, of course. According to the article, coal is cheaper than natural gas or nuclear power –- and more reliable than intermittent sources such as wind or solar.
As analyst Daniel Scott is quoted in the article: “The reason coal burns in this country is not because anyone likes the smog. It’s the cost.”
Tom Fetters is a copy editor at The Daily Reporter. He’s just happy to read “construction is booming” in a headline.