Essential in the 20th Century, and in the 21st
World economic growth over the past two centuries was powered largely by fossil fuels. More than 75 million people are being added to cities globally each year, driving greater energy and infrastructure needs. Fossil fuels will remain the essential global energy sources.
Past, Present, and Future, Part I
Robert Gordon’s seminal book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, has a pessimistic message with profound economic, social, and political implications. But nowhere in Gordon’s 762-page book does he give credit to fossil fuels for the economic miracle of the past two centuries. In this article, I focus on the critical historical role that fossil fuels played in creating the technological and economic miracles that Gordon articulates so well.
Looking back on my 45 years in the energy sector.
By diving into today’s more diverse energy sector and embracing change, utilities stand to benefit over the long term. This is precisely why I am so excited about the future, even if I do occasionally look back wistfully on the past.
Shareholder Protection or War on Coal?
Why did Schneiderman sue Peabody? Because Peabody is America’s biggest coal company. He also likely wanted to establish a precedent before launching a Martin Act investigation of even bigger game: ExxonMobil.
Converting emissions from coal-fired plants to gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel.
Gary C. Young, Ph.D., P.E.
An economical commercial process is needed to provide an incentive for the utility industries to engender win-win support for governmental regulations on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The current approach is carbon capture and sequestration. Recently, however, an alternative has emerged: a proprietary process that converts CO2 into syngas (CO & H2). Thereafter, the syngas can be converted to fuels such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, methanol, and/or ethanol with the use of established mature technologies.
It’s not personal. It’s just business.
With coal’s troubles piling up, so too are stories about the industry’s “bleak” future in the United States – a casualty of cheap natural gas, thinning coal seams, and the pursuit of lower-carbon alternatives. Just as conspicuous: utilities, which have long allied themselves with the coal developers, are retiring their older coal units in droves.
Expect more analysis – more scenarios, more detail – as state compliance plans become better known.
As things stand today, even without the Clean Power Plan, we expect to see the retirement of more than 6 percent of North America’s generation capacity by 2030.
Making ‘Clean Coal’ More than an Oxymoron.
Are clean coal efforts likely to fail? Yes. Does that mean investing is foolish? No. Here are eight ways I think the industry should change its clean coal messaging if it wants to win over the people who matter most.
Diversifying Utility Regulation: State regulators voice opinions as mixed as the nation’s geography.
Interviews with public utility commissioners from key states – New York, California, Maryland, and Georgia – on coal carbon, climate, and the revolution in retail. What they’re thinking. What they’re planning.
Regulatory and environmental challenges for power plant conversions under the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
Stephen E. Luttrell, Paul R. McIntyre, and Stephen C. Jones
Converting a power plant from coal to natural gas triggers a host of environmental challenges and regulatory issues. Operators could be trading one set of regulatory obligations, liabilities, and costs for another, equally problematic, set of liabilities and costs.