Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit

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Thread: Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit

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    Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit

    Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit
    PluginCars
    February 11, 2011
    by Nick Chambers


    If you are into electric cars, chances are pretty good that after a while you get a little tired of responding to claims that plug-in vehicles are simply shifting pollution from tailpipes to smokestacks. While technically this is true—about half of America's electricity currently comes from coal-fired power plants—there are now several studies that conclusively show electric vehicles pollute much less than combustion vehicles even with half of the electricity coming from coal.

    But the other, bigger point that people who tout this "problem" with electric cars are ignoring is that the magnitude of smokestack pollution associated with them varies widely depending on where that car is being filled with electricity.

    In the Pacific Northwest, for instance, a large proportion of electricity comes from the dozens of dams up and down the mighty Columbia River and its various tributaries. In areas such as this, electric cars will produce almost no pollution. Which leads to another point: as the rest of our energy grid gets cleaner, so will electric cars. The best part? You'll never need to upfit or trade-in an electric car to reap the benefits of our rapidly evolving clean technology sector. It's very hard to make a gas car much cleaner without getting a new gas car.

    But what if renewable energy never takes off? Firstly, see point one about electric cars being cleaner than gas cars even with our current energy mix. Secondly, while it's true that we've got such a plentiful supply of coal in this country that you might say we'll never stop using it, government mandates and increasingly stringent clean air laws are having a big effect on the what kinds of power plants are cost effective to operate. In California, for instance, a tough but doable goal has been set that a third of the state's electricity will come from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2020, and the state has been pushing initiatives that make it more lucrative to generate renewable energy.

    Besides the various state initiatives, there are larger forces at work as well. Increasingly stringent air quality regulations have been driving up the cost of making coal power for decades—and it seems to have gotten to the point where coal power is going the way of the dinosaur. In a Bloomberg article, U.S. Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, predicted that within the next eight years, the U.S. will see "massive" closures of coal power plants. These plants are old and the cost of upgrading them to meet new regulations doesn't make sense when a company could easily open up a much cleaner natural gas power plant in its place—or even a nuclear facility or a wind farm.

    In President Obama's 2011 State of the Union address, he called for 80% of America's energy to come from "clean" sources by 2035. Under his definition, coal would only be a clean energy source if it were able to use sophisticated carbon capture technology, which Chu says isn't ready for large power plants yet and won't be for some time. Altogether, the lack of sufficient technology, coupled with more stringent regulations means the U.S. will likely see 50-65 gigawatts of its current 314 gigawatts of coal fired electricity disappear by 2020—that's about a 16-20% reduction in coal-fired power over the next 10 years.

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    Re: Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit

    Can coal power stations ever become eco friendly even with some sort of new scrubber system..... or possibly routing the carbon into the ground? I thought I saw something like this a few years ago wear carbon was put into the ground instead of the air. Is this a viable alternative or does the carbon have adverse affects on the soil?

    Renewable energy is great but only if it can be done in a cost effective manner. Environmentalists don't usually think of the effects that such shifts have on lower income families.
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    Re: Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit

    Our Great Leader promised to put the coal industry out of business. One promise he intended to keep, I hazard.

    To think we can just butterfly our way away from coal is delusional and dangerous. Wind and solar are not going to amount to shucks for decades.

    CO2 labeled as a dangerous gas is the height of criminal folly. Attempting to ruin our nation financially while enriching oneself is a very bad idea that will reap bookoo bad karma on the algores of the world who think they can play this game and suffer no consequence, anywhere, this plane or the next.

    That so many people buy into it proves the solid basis for the Big Lie agitprop technique.
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    Re: Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit

    Quote Originally Posted by Neanderthal View Post
    Our Great Leader promised to put the coal industry out of business. One promise he intended to keep, I hazard.

    To think we can just butterfly our way away from coal is delusional and dangerous. Wind and solar are not going to amount to shucks for decades.

    CO2 labeled as a dangerous gas is the height of criminal folly. Attempting to ruin our nation financially while enriching oneself is a very bad idea that will reap bookoo bad karma on the algores of the world who think they can play this game and suffer no consequence, anywhere, this plane or the next.

    That so many people buy into it proves the solid basis for the Big Lie agitprop technique.
    I get what you are saying, but if you fill a room with CO2 gas and walk into that room, you will die. Therefore, you could classify CO2 as a dangerous gas.
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    Re: Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit

    I will say that if Pres. Obama is successful in shutting down coal, Kentucky will go bankrupt as will plenty of other states because they just wont be able to keep the lights on.

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    Re: Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit

    Quote Originally Posted by ne_one View Post
    Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit
    PluginCars
    February 11, 2011
    by Nick Chambers


    If you are into electric cars, chances are pretty good that after a while you get a little tired of responding to claims that plug-in vehicles are simply shifting pollution from tailpipes to smokestacks. While technically this is true—about half of America's electricity currently comes from coal-fired power plants—there are now several studies that conclusively show electric vehicles pollute much less than combustion vehicles even with half of the electricity coming from coal.
    That is a valid statement as long as you are referring to the CURRENT AVERAGE domestic ... GASOLINE VEHICLE.

    It appears that vehicles like the FUEL FRUGAL, 45 [up to above 60] mpg(US) “CAFÉ”, small displacement Euro type turbo diesels ARE CLEANER than domestic gasoline vehicles in almost everything EXCEPT NOx. And, these types of diesels are closing the gap on NOx. The plug-ins are also "dirty" like US gasoline ... only to a lesser degree.

    Currently, apparently plug-ins powered from the CURRENT "AVERAGE" grid will not beat the diesels even on NOx ... at least ... NOT until about 30% to 40% of the "worst performing" coal plants are decomissioned.

    Apparenty domestic gasoline ICEs have considerably greater difficulties with VOCs, CO, and PM2.5 particulates than FUEL FRUGAL, 45 [up to above 60] mpg(US) “CAFÉ”, small displacement Euro type Step 5 turbo diesels.
    http://webpages.charter.net/lmarz/Diesel.pdf

    Quote Originally Posted by flatblackstrat View Post
    Can coal power stations ever become eco friendly even with some sort of new scrubber system..... or possibly routing the carbon into the ground? I thought I saw something like this a few years ago wear carbon was put into the ground instead of the air. Is this a viable alternative or does the carbon have adverse affects on the soil?
    Obviously current coal plants could be "cleaned up" with scrubbers and carbon capture.

    However, that comes at a cost in plant efficiency, called parasitic losses to power the "cleaning processes", estimated to increase losses 20%. So, the current average 33% efficient coal plant could be expected to drop that average efficiency BELOW 26%. That would require about 13k Btu of coal input for 1 kW output into the grid. Not good at all!
    It is important what WE use as our "moral compass" and ...
    the "measuring stick" chosen for judging progress/success as well.


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    Re: Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit

    What is interesting, is that in the future energy may no longer revolve mostly around oil. Until a couple of years ago car makers were only concentrating on making attractive automobiles. The issue of 'feeding the car' was left to oil companies. Now electricity companies are much more involved. France, having 60 nuclear power plants, forms a good example.

    I call it "interesting" cause there's still a lot left to be desired about the EV.
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    Re: Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit

    Quote Originally Posted by impala02 View Post
    I get what you are saying, but if you fill a room with CO2 gas and walk into that room, you will die. Therefore, you could classify CO2 as a dangerous gas.
    I love the lengths people go to and the reading they'll do to discredit a political figure. If a republican was trying to do away with coal power, they'd have nothing to say and the dems would be the ones reading up on coal power even though they never bothered to do so before it became a political topic.

    I'd venture to say that nobody on this forum is educated enough on the subject to make any kind of argument one way or another. That kind of knowledge takes years to obtain in a specific field.

    But, oh well, nuclear power is the way to go because I read a magazine once.
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    Re: Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit

    Quote Originally Posted by ZR2BlaZeR2 View Post
    I love the lengths people go to and the reading they'll do to discredit a political figure. If a republican was trying to do away with coal power, they'd have nothing to say and the dems would be the ones reading up on coal power even though they never bothered to do so before it became a political topic.

    I'd venture to say that nobody on this forum is educated enough on the subject to make any kind of argument one way or another. That kind of knowledge takes years to obtain in a specific field.

    But, oh well, nuclear power is the way to go because I read a magazine once.
    If you believe that no one on this forum is educated enough on this subject, are you making assumptions? How do you know that what you say is true. The truth is, You don't!

    After posting here for quite a few years, I find that there are more than a few people with a broad knowledge base. Maybe you should judge us less and read all of what we have to say. Back at you.
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    Re: Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit

    Quote Originally Posted by bballr4567 View Post
    I will say that if Pres. Obama is successful in shutting down coal, Kentucky will go bankrupt as will plenty of other states because they just wont be able to keep the lights on.
    Not going to get into a sparing match but you all know this is not true or at least you should. This is just another case of he is trying to kill grandma. I have heard him say that he is for clean coal more times than I can count and there is nothing wrong in moving to wind, solar, and more nuclear.

    What economies like Kentucky have to do is start investing in a new industry now so they are ready for the shift instead of riding out a dieing wave till they hit the sand. That takes investment which they don't understand and that is why they will be the next industry to be crying and such. You have to invest in the future and set your self up to be competitive so you are ready for opportunities.

    The reason people in Houston did not really feel the economic collapse is because it happened to us before in the late 70's so we diversified our economy to guard against it again.Put all of your investment in one stock and if it fails you cry to the gods but if you diversify you stand a better chance the same applies here.
    Last edited by rueben44; 02-12-2011 at 11:07 AM.
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    Re: Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit

    Quote Originally Posted by flatblackstrat View Post
    Can coal power stations ever become eco friendly even with some sort of new scrubber system..... or possibly routing the carbon into the ground? I thought I saw something like this a few years ago wear carbon was put into the ground instead of the air. Is this a viable alternative or does the carbon have adverse affects on the soil?

    Renewable energy is great but only if it can be done in a cost effective manner. Environmentalists don't usually think of the effects that such shifts have on lower income families.
    Putting carbon into the ground is the carbon capture technology noted in the last paragraph of the article. Sadly, this technology sounds simple, but isn't and is far from perfected.

    I'm for nuclear, it is tried and true. Yes, issues can occur, but for the most part the technology is proven and is the only viable source that can power the nation. I like the ideas of solar, wind and wave, but we would need to cover have the country in solar and wind farms to have enough power - not practical.

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    Re: Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit

    Quote Originally Posted by XP300 View Post
    If you believe that no one on this forum is educated enough on this subject, are you making assumptions? How do you know that what you say is true. The truth is, You don't!

    After posting here for quite a few years, I find that there are more than a few people with a broad knowledge base. Maybe you should judge us less and read all of what we have to say. Back at you.
    having a "broad knowledge" and actually being educated on a subject are two very different things.

    any physicists here? anybody work a a coal power plant or coal mine? anybody here employed by the gov't to investigate the subject? anybody here been studying the subject for an agency involved in the matter?

    regardless, at some point there will be a generation of Americans that will have to sacrifice a whole lot to make the improvements needed for this country to move forward into the future. but it seems none of us can get out of the way of our uneducated opinions.
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    Re: Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit

    I guess overall I feel like you shouldn't have to drive an electric car unless you want to. Having my Volt now for 2 months, for many if not most people I think the answer will be, "I want to!"

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    Re: Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackGTP View Post
    Putting carbon into the ground is the carbon capture technology noted in the last paragraph of the article. Sadly, this technology sounds simple, but isn't and is far from perfected.

    I'm for nuclear, it is tried and true. Yes, issues can occur, but for the most part the technology is proven and is the only viable source that can power the nation. I like the ideas of solar, wind and wave, but we would need to cover have the country in solar and wind farms to have enough power - not practical.
    What is the most efficient energy source for generating electricity?

    Coal = 45-48%
    Nat Gas = 32-38%
    Hydro = 85-90%
    Wind = 30-45%
    Solar = 12-20%
    Nuclear = 0.27%

    To be fair, this is measuring the energy used to generate steam to drive the turbines. The seemingly miniscule efficiency of nuclear generated electricity is a reflection of the great amount of energy that is not captured/used from the fission process.

    Now, cost per kWh is probably much different (I'll have to look into that).

    All I know is the electricity where I live is the third most expensive in the country even though I can "see Niagara Falls from my back yard"! Only about 5% of the electricity generated by Robert Moses is used in this area, the rest is sold down state and out of state...to TN, for one, which has some of the cheapest rates. Thanks NYPA!
    Last edited by rockyspaw; 02-12-2011 at 11:33 AM.
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    Re: Coal-Fired Electricity Headed for 'Massive' Declines, Electric Cars to Benefit

    Quote Originally Posted by rueben44 View Post
    Not going to get into a sparing match but you all know this is not true or at least you should. This is just another case of he is trying to kill grandma. I have heard him say that he is for clean coal more times than I can count and there is nothing wrong in moving to wind, solar, and more nuclear.

    What economies like Kentucky have to do is start investing in a new industry now so they are ready for the shift instead of riding out a dieing wave till they hit the sand. That takes investment which they don't understand and that is why they will be the next industry to be crying and such. You have to invest in the future and set your self up to be competitive so you are ready for opportunities.

    The reason people in Houston did not really feel the economic collapse is because it happened to us before in the late 70's so we diversified our economy to guard against it again.Put all of your investment in one stock and if it fails you cry to the gods but if you diversify you stand a better chance the same applies here.
    Yes, he is for clean coal but at the expense of shutting down old power plants before opening up new plants. The net energy is doing a double peak curve because he is trying to get the EPA to shut down the current power plants before the new clean coal plants are coming online. Saying and doing are two different things.

    Wind and solar are great but they dont provide near the energy as coal and costs are much higher.

    Nuclear would be great if, again, the EPA would approve the plants. Very, very few plants are even being proposed and even less are being approved.

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