Front Porch Blog

We CAN NOT Mine Our Way to Cheap Electricity

Via the Energy Information Administration this morning, we have gotten the shocking news that central Appalachian coal is suddenly pushing $140/ton.

This is a tremendous jump of 350% in just one year. image

While we see a long-term skyrocketing of central Appalachian coal costs, production has decreased dramatically over the last 8 years.

For perspective, central Appalachian production in June ’07 was 19.8 million tons, while in June of this year it was 18.8. In Virginia, production is down 17% compared to this time last year.

The central Appalachian Basin is where almost all mountaintop removal mining currently takes place. The obvious conclusion is that we can not mine our way to cheap energy.

The price of operating new coal-fired power plants is increasing exponentially. With $140/ton coal, not only is a Draconian operation like a coal-fired power plant getting pricey, but electricity rates and any related fossil fuel based energy process (CCS, liquid coal, “clean” coal, etc.) is getting dramatically more expensive to implement.

Thoughts? Will $140/ton coal be the deathnell of coal fired electricity? The good news is that we can create real cheap, clean energy through homegrown wind power.





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