Coal gets cool reception outside Wisconsin
From a story by Mike Ivey in The Capital Times:
Electric companies all across the U.S. are scrapping plans for new coal-fired power plants — but not in Wisconsin where coal remains king.
At least 16 coal-fired power plant proposals nationwide have been ditched in recent months and another three dozen are facing delays as utilities face growing concerns over global climate change coupled with soaring construction costs.
The U.S. Department of Energy in a tally of pending coal plants released last week showed eight projects totaling 7,000 megawatts were canceled since May. That’s in addition to the cancellation earlier this year of eight coal plants in Texas totaling another 6,900 megawatts.
One megawatt supplies enough power for about 250 average households.
Relatively cheap and plentiful, coal has been the dirty backbone of the U.S. electric system for a century, producing half of all the electricity consumed in the U.S. Wisconsin is even more dependant on coal, using it to generate about 75 percent of the electricity produced here.
Unfortunately, coal is also the largest single source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the major greenhouse gas that is contributing to a warmer planet.
And despite a lot of talk locally about renewable energy and clean power, Wisconsin remains on a coal burning binge. Three new coal-burning plants are currently under construction; two along Lake Michigan and a third near Wausau.
“Wisconsin is No. 1 in the U.S. for construction of new coal plants,” says Bruce Nilles of the Sierra Club’s Madison office.