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Coal may have more friends now

July 8, 2013

Voters in states such as West Virginia and Ohio won’t put up with excuses from the U.S. Senate this time around....

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Jul-10-13 11:35 AM

I meant to put it here, although it could go on most any energy topic. The potential for saving electricity is huge.

& unlike gasoline, since electricity is a right-this-instant thing, great savings can be realized by shifting consumption to hours when generating capacity is most available. Not all consumption can be time-shifted, of course, but much can. Not just by defining "peak" & "off-peak" hours in advance, but by developing a "smart grid" that facilitates adjustments in real time.

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Jul-10-13 8:58 AM

I think you meant that to go on the thread discussing E85 Neo. The numbers I listed below are for electrical generation only and do not include other uses of energy.

I recently rode from Cumberland, MD down 220 and across 50 to Parkersburg. On the ride, more than 100 of WV’s ~600 are visible wind turbines. The turbines cover nearly 600 square miles of forest and have their own environmental problems and while they play an important role in energy, it is not a large role as each turbine provides 1.5 MW of power, or enough to power ~450 homes.

That is the positives. Wind has many negatives though. They requires an alternate source of energy to turn their blades when during low wind speeds, a problem often experienced in WV’s class 4 winds. They kill birds, require devastation of forest during construction, and they are highly inefficient.

Renewable simply do not possess the capability to replace coal as a reliable source of energy at this time.

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Jul-10-13 8:15 AM

There is more potential in efficient use of energy than most users realize. Search Rocky Mountain Institute or Amory Lovins. They've demonstrated that energy-efficient retrofits & new designs often save money in just a few years. A big part of your 40% won't require any new energy source at all.

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Jul-10-13 12:11 AM

Even if renewables could be made cost effective, producers would STILL have to find enough supply to provide an additional 40% of our energy needs. The can't because all renewables combined DO NOT have the capabilities to meet that production demand. Wishing they did by throwing good money after bad at renewables as Obama did with Solondra is not going to make it so.

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Jul-09-13 8:05 PM

I too wondered about "the obvious rapid depletion of a natural resource", which would be incorrect if coal is the resource. But I concluded that a livable climate is the resource, so I clicked "Approve".

Having cleared that up, I don't want to create another confusion. If the climate heats up several degrees, it'll still be a livable climate -- for some species. Probably including cockroaches. Some species will be able to migrate north or to higher altitudes. Camels may migrate to Siberia -- or possibly elephants, depending on which regions turn out dry or wet. More likely, neither camels nor elephants will survive, but some sort of ecology will evolve.

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Jul-09-13 7:15 PM

Is it true that climate change is one of the gravest threats to human health and survival? Is it likewise true that climate change increases ground level ozone, which worsens asthma and causes permanent lung damage, while also causing extreme weather events that in part causes harm to the food supply? Would not replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy be a win-win-win reducing toxic air pollution, slowing climate change and creating new jobs?

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Jul-09-13 4:32 PM

If rapid depletion were the reason for the President's actions, the previous poster might have a valid point. As it is not, they do not.

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Jul-09-13 1:32 PM

Politics is the art of the possible. Is it possible for politicians to prevent the obvious rapid depletion of a natural resource?

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Jul-09-13 10:07 AM

What those on the extreme left do not seem to understand is that while coal has diminished as a source of energy, it has not, WILL NOT and cannot go away in the near future. The US uses ~4.1 trillion kWh of electricity annually. Coal accounts for ~40% of our electricity production, or ~1.75 trillion kWh of electricity. Pleasants Power at Willow Island produces ~475 million kWh of electricity annually. The average consumer uses ~11,280 kWh of electricity annually at a cost of ~$.12 per kWh. The cost of electricity produced by coal is ~$.03 per kWh.

While gas and alternative energy sources will take on a larger role in the future, none have the capability to completely replace coal, which has more proven reserves than gas and oil combined. The ONLY viable source with the ability to replace coal is nuclear and that’s just not going to happen. Like it or not, Obama’s war on coal must fail if Americans are going to continue to turn the lights on.

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Jul-09-13 5:31 AM

If Coal is such a valuable, desirable resource then why are the areas, especially in the Appalachian region of the Country, the poorest part of the Country?

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Jul-09-13 3:33 AM


You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned addressing the problem with "mental illness". Thats the reall problem that needs to be addressed! And I doesnt need addressed by medicating an already over medicated society.

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Jul-08-13 10:30 PM

Only management make salaries, workers make wages.Those good wages will disappear when the mines shutdown, those good wages will disappear when the coal fired power units shut down, those good wages will disappear when the construction workers no longer performing maintenance work. Gas fired units will only need a few in the control rooms and hardly anybody on the units. And if you think the power companies are going to get natgas for low prices and sell electricity for low prices you truly underestimate the power of big business. Those boys know how to make lemonade when you hand them lemons. That concept eludes the executive branch because most of them have had positions but not jobs.

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Jul-08-13 6:33 PM

Denver,you are correct in your asserti on "You would think that clean air and safe working conditions SHOULD be a high priority for coal miners and the people of West Virginia." HOWEVER and unfortunately, the only life most of these coal miners have known is what their daddies, grand daddies, great grand daddies and great great granddaddies have known-MINING of COAL. Therefore, these coal miners with little or no education to get a job making the kind of salaries they are currently making, are pro coal(a dying industry) and wholeheartedly anti-environment. How sad!!!

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Jul-08-13 2:02 PM

Mike Myers does not understand capitalism that he so vigorously supports and peddles in his rants. Wall Street and investment companies like those affiliated with Mitt Romney are the ones that the coal industry should fear...not President Obama. The ever increasing discoveries of natural gas are the nails that will secure the lid on "King Coal's" coffin. Coal is no longer economically attractive to investment bankers. Natural gas will be powering electricity in the future for about as cheap, if not cheaper than coal generated electricity costs now. While President Obama definitely supports clean energy over coal, the real players here are those who lends the money to the power companies. What happens in Congress will have little impact. Its what happens in Wall Street that will tell the tale.

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Jul-08-13 9:30 AM

You would think that clean air and safe working conditions would be a high priority for coal miners and the people of West Virginia, Now wouldn't you? But nope, they're content to make the Coal Barons rich, work in less than safe standards, and pollute the water they're families drink and air they breathe.

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Jul-08-13 9:18 AM

Mike Myer's guess is that a "Stop the War on Coal" bill would have a better chance in the Senate than it would have a year ago.

Mr. Myer is right -- and wrong.

He's probably right that we're politically incapable of limiting carbon dioxide emissions.

He's almost certainly wrong in thinking that this is a good thing.

There are no easy answers to this question. Mr. Myer has underscored that once again.

We need to be looking for the easiest answers -- but they'll be the easiest of some very difficult options.

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Jul-08-13 7:17 AM

"HenryWescott" I thought you republicans like to point out that Joe Manchin is a conservative.

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Jul-08-13 6:03 AM

I'm sure Joe Manchin will use poltical bs to tell the WV citizens one thing while doing another just as he is trying to do Obama's biding with his gun control effort. We already have background checks in place, why not tackle the mental health problem instead of gun control measures that don't work and only hurt law abiding citizens. I'm not holding much hope for Manchin to fight for coal or for WV. He has proven that he is another Obama lackey.

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