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"Coal is a dead man walkin'" 

How many new coal-fired power plants came online in the U.S. last year? None. Zero. Ninguno. According to the Washington Post:

The headline news for the coal industry in 2010 was what didn't happen: Construction did not begin on a single new coal-fired power plant in the United States for the second straight year.

This in a nation where a fleet of coal-fired plants generates nearly half the electricity used.

But a combination of low natural gas prices, shale gas discoveries, the economic slowdown and litigation by environmental groups has stopped - at least for now - groundbreaking on new ones.

"Coal is a dead man walkin'," says Kevin Parker, global head of asset management and a member of the executive committee at Deutsche Bank. "Banks won't finance them. Insurance companies won't insure them. The EPA is coming after them. . . . And the economics to make it clean don't work."

One of the beneficiaries of that progress is Ball State University where I teach. When its aging coal-fired plant came due for an overhaul last year, the university received no bids to replace it. The result? The nation's largest geothermal project.

Reader Comments (1)

The call to reduce the use of coals is valid for western countries but unfortunately, coal publications show developing economies are more likely to increase their use of coal in coming years because of its affordability and to meet increasing demands for electricity and steel for the coal industry.
February 29, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercoal publications

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