US coal industry 'a dead man walking': New York mayor
Washington (Platts)--27Feb2013/1218 pm EST/1718 GMT
Coal-fired power generation in the US is on the road to elimination, and
should be replaced with natural gas-fired plants and renewable power, New
York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday.
"Even though the coal industry doesn't totally know it yet, or is ready
to admit it, its day is done. It used to be said that coal is king, and
regrettably coal remains king in nations like India and China," Bloomberg
told a US Department of Energy-sponsored advanced energy conference near
"Here in the US, I am happy to say, the king is dead. Coal is a dead man
walking," he said.
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Bloomberg has long been an opponent of the use of coal for power
generation, arguing that the air pollution from the plants leads to increased
rates of asthma and other health problems, and that carbon dioxide emissions
are contributing to climate change.
"One-sixth of America's entire inventory of coal-fired plants is slated
for retirement, that does mean that five-sixths is still there, we still have
a lot of work to do," Bloomberg said.
The Environmental Protection Agency has implemented regulations
governing greenhouse gas emissions that in effect mean no new coal-fired
power plants can be built without carbon capture and storage technology,
which so far has proved too expensive to use. The agency is now preparing
similar regulation for existing plants.
"We are ready for the next round in this struggle, the long, regulatory
trench warfare that will determine just how tightly and effectively the EPA
clamps down on carbon pollution," Bloomberg said.
While Bloomberg is girding for a fight against the use of coal, the
Energy Information Administration has estimated that coal will still account
for as much as 35% of electricity generated for at least 30 years, down from
the current 42% in 2010.
That change stems from increases in gas-fired generation and increased
use of renewables such as wind and solar, according to EIA.
Bloomberg said gas was a relatively clean alternative, and that it would
be necessary to support increased renewable generation. But he said that
hydraulic fracturing, which has facilitated the boom in US gas production
needs to be regulated.
"Natural gas really does have the potential to benefit us for decades to
come, but only if drilling is done right, in a fashion that does not affect
the environment," he said.
--Derek Sands, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, email@example.com