Coal is abundant in the United States and it is abundant. As Americans want to reduce their dependency on other countries for fuel, the benefits of clean coal is being discussed more and more. In the 2008 presidential campaign it was considered an important enough topic that when Barack Obamaâ€™s running mate, Joe Biden was quoted as saying “Weâ€™re not supporting clean coal … No coal plants here in America.” immediate damage control began.
It is abundant, it is available, and it is “home grown” in that the United States controls the supply. There are environmental concerns regarding mining coal and using coal, but they are issues that can be managed. The concern regarding our continued dependency on other countries for our fuel and its effect on our economy are not as easy to manage.
There are many benefits of clean coal as fuel. Here are some of them:
* Boost to economy * Reduce dependency on foreign countries for fuel supply * It will buy time as other technologies like wind and solar energy to be developed * More reliable than wind to use * Less costly than solar to use * No radiation risks like nuclear power
Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana spoke of clean coal at the National Governors Association 2008 winter meeting. He said that the one thing we know for sure is that weâ€™re working on the technologies to reduce CO2 emissions, just like we have with other emissions that are currently regulated under federal and state clean air laws. Weâ€™ve heard me say it before, and he said it again: there has never been an environmental challenge facing the coal-based electricity sector for which technology didnâ€™t provide the ultimate solution. Meeting the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the utility sector is not going to be the exception to that rule. Schweitzer believes that itâ€™s good to see folks recognize that coal HAS to be a part of meeting America's future energy needs.
The dependency of one type of energy will allow the control of energy to be in a few peopleâ€™s hands. That can cause energy becoming unavailable or becoming available at a high price. With cars that are solely dependent on gasoline for fuel, the country has been at the mercy of those who control gasoline prices and supply. Clean coal can provide another option for energy for the country. The more options that there are available for energy, the less control each industry will have on supply and pricing.
Two other popular energy options are wind and solar energy. Though there may be nearly unlimited supply of each and both are available at no cost, the technology and supplies needed to turn each into energy and to store that energy can be controlled. When consumers have choices, the products will compete to provide the best quality and the most affordable price. To be dependent on a single energy option will prevent that from happening.
One there is one product available; the price is raised to discover the tolerance level of the consumer. It is raised to the point that consumers will find ways to avoid purchasing a product. That was seen with the price of gasoline. The price got high enough that consumers reduced their consumption. The price of a gallon of gasoline then began to drop.
Using clean coal for energy will benefit parts of the world that may not have adequate sunshine during parts of the year to be able to provide the energy needed. These areas would include the following that have extended time of darkness during parts of the year:
* Alaska-6-12 hours of daylight in the winter * North Pole-no daylight for months during the winter * South Pole-no daylight for months during the summer
As technology makes coal cleaner to burn and ways to protect the environment improve, coal will be a safe alternative. The more options that consumers have for their energy needs the quality and affordability will improve.
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