Obama's war on coal

tennmiketennmike Senior MemberPosts: 23,293 Senior Member
Coal mines are being shut down at a pretty fast clip since Obama declared war on coal and let slip the dogs of the EPA on them. The mine companies can't keep up with the new regulations being spewed out of the EPA like a 2500 lb. bull with the squirts. Coal plants are being shut down at a record pace, too. West Virginia coal mining is being hit particularly hard, as is Ohio. Lot of people being let go due to no work.

Now the greenie weenies say that the coal plants should convert to a cleaner fuel source like natural gas. Well, that's possible, but wait, there's more. Converting to NG fuel is not that simple. NG lines have to be run to the plants. The plants have to shut down and new boiler equipment installed. But wait, there's STILL more. The plants have to make application to the EPA to convert over from coal to NG. That application can take a few years as environmental impact statements have to be submitted, and the information must first be collected, and that includes the impact of the proposed NG line to the plant. The new boiler equipment must be approved by EPA, and they will change the rules in the middle of the installation and cause further expense and delay. The state will be involved in all of this and will have their oar dipped deep in the process. So say about 3-5 years to get the permits, during which time the plants will be shut down. The EPA is notoriously fast promulgating draconian regulations, but slower than stink off poop issuing permits. And the environmentalists will fight the pipeline tooth and nail, as well as the conversion from coal to NG.

And behind curtain number 3. The nuclear plants are getting long in the tooth, and several are out for major equipment repair/replacement. One plant in FL may be permanently retired due to a large crack in the containment structure. Only two or three are being built, and one of them, Watts Bar Unit 2, was started in the 1970s, construction deferred in early 1980s, and construction resumed just a couple years ago. And even if the new units came on line today, they would be far short of the megawatts needed to make up for what is being lost.

Lot of the coal plants being shut down are in the Northeast and upper Midwest. They'd better be hoping for a mild winter, as they are going to be short on electric power, and that power will be at higher cost as it will have to be bought from other utilities, assuming that they have excess generation to sell.

Save your junk mail; you may need to burn it to stay warm this winter! :rotflamo:
I may be a Deplorable, but at least I'm not a Liberal!!!



Replies

  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member Posts: 4,646 Senior Member
    And yet we're told Obama is running away with OH and PA
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,252 Senior Member
    Our arrogant president doesn't seem to realize or care that a great many people like myself happen to use coal fired electricity and don't have a choice. Any increase in cost to Southern Company will be passed down to customers. Big companies never eat any increase in their expenses.
    My brother used to work for Craft Foods Which is owned by RJ Reynolds (tobacco) years ago when they lost a big class action lawsuit to the tune of a few billion dollars. They increased the cost of cigarrettes about a dollar a pack to cover the cost of the lawsuit. My brother said they posted record profits the following year because the actual cost of the lawsuit would have only been a few cents per pack.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
  • alphasigmookiealphasigmookie Senior Member Posts: 8,074 Senior Member
    As much as I'd like to give Obama credit for shutting down dirty coal this is being driven by the flood of cheap domestic natural gas than any EPA regulations. Also, while I'd like to give Obama credit for the regulations, all of these have been in the pipeline for a decade or more. They've just been held up by endless review and bureaucratic red tape, especially during the Bush administration when they were in no hurry to finalize any of them. Utilities have known these were coming for an extremely long time and many of them have been using their army of lobbyists to continuously delay them rather than proactively taking steps to prepare for them.

    The reality is that our coal fleet is aging, dirty, and inefficient and can't compete with inexpensive, clean, and highly efficient combined cycle natural gas plants which are going in like crazy all over the country. Why would you spend a bunch of money to upgrade a 40-50 year old coal plant when you can just plop down a new NGCC plant and be done with it? No need for expensive emissions controls since NG burns much cleaner with virtually no sulfur or mercury which are the real problems with coal (not to mention ~50% the GHG emission, but I know no one here cares about that).

    As for the "poor miners" in Appalachia, they're in luck too as they can climb out of their dirty holes and go work on the drill rigs and frack crews in the Marcellus and Utica shales in PA, OH, WV. Not only do those jobs generally pay more, they're also a heck of a lot safer.

    As for generation...still plenty going in every year...8 GW just in the first half of this year. Have been building new capacity at about 16-20 GW per year for the past few years, it's just mostly NG and renewables.
    During the first half of 2012, 165 new electric power generators were added in 33 states, for a total of 8,098 megawatts (MW) of new capacity. Of the ten states with the highest levels of capacity additions, most of the new capacity uses natural gas or renewable energy sources. Capacity additions in these ten states total 6,500 MW, or 80% of the new capacity added nationally in the first six months of 2012.

    Most of the new generators built over the past 15 years are powered by natural gas or wind. In 2012, the addition of natural gas and renewable generators comes at a time when natural gas and renewable generation are contributing increasing amounts to total generation across much of the United States. In particular, efficient combined-cycle natural gas generators are competitive with coal generators over a large swath of the country. And, in the first half of 2012, these combined-cycle generators were added in states that traditionally burn mostly coal (with the exception of Idaho, which has significant hydroelectric resources).

    http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=7610
    "Finding out that you have run out of toilet paper is a good example of lack of preparation, buying 10 years worth is silly"
    -DoctorWho
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member Posts: 4,646 Senior Member
    "As for the "poor miners" in Appalachia, they're in luck too as they can climb out of their dirty holes and go work on the drill rigs and frack crews in the Marcellus and Utica shales in PA, OH, WV. Not only do those jobs generally pay more, they're also a heck of a lot safer."

    Yep, problem solved. It's all tied up with a shiny pink ribbon. Let's all slide down the rainbow and float down the chocolate river to Happyville. We can go to the Unicorn petting zoo.
    You have no idea what you're talking about. I'll be very surprised if more than a handful get on with the energy companies. Most will end up on relief.
    And I own stock in an energy co. And my girlfriend works for one. Both heavily involved in fracking. So obviously I'm very pro NG. It has nothing to do with that.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,202 Senior Member
    I admit to not knowing much about this, but I've been scared of coal plants for some time. Mostly due to mercury and fly-ash issues.

    Our hometown had a HUGE uproar a few years back when they wanted to build a big fly-ash dump pit here. We finally shouted them down and it went away. I wish we had more nuclear power plants. Mike is right they are getting older. New ones are planned (or were planned, haven't heard anything lately) to come online sometime in the next few years. Two of them in GA, and I think one or two over in West Tennessee... Is that right, Mike?

    The Sierra Club president made the comment once that the biggest mistake they made years ago was the protesting of nuclear power plants, because what they got in return was increases in coal.

    Am I off the range with this? Is coal a major pollutant? I've heard a lot about "clean coal" but don't know what's so clean about it...
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member Posts: 4,646 Senior Member
    Buffco wrote: »
    I admit to not knowing much about this, but I've been scared of coal plants for some time. Mostly due to mercury and fly-ash issues.

    Our hometown had a HUGE uproar a few years back when they wanted to build a big fly-ash dump pit here. We finally shouted them down and it went away. I wish we had more nuclear power plants. Mike is right they are getting older. New ones are planned (or were planned, haven't heard anything lately) to come online sometime in the next few years. Two of them in GA, and I think one or two over in West Tennessee... Is that right, Mike?



    The Sierra Club president made the comment once that the biggest mistake they made years ago was the protesting of nuclear power plants, because what they got in return was increases in coal.

    Am I off the range with this? Is coal a major pollutant? I've heard a lot about "clean coal" but don't know what's so clean about it...

    No, you're right on base. Remember "acid rain"? Between all the alternatives nukes should definitely be in the mix. They'd have to really fast track the regulatory process though. But we can't just stop coal in it's tracks and then wait on other options. There has to be some overlap.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • bhl2506bhl2506 Senior Member Posts: 1,847 Senior Member
    Remeber back to the interview Obama made in San Fransico where he stated that under his energy plan we would pay much higher prices for energy. nough said!
    Refusing to conform to the left wing mantra of political correctness by insisting on telling the truth does not make you a loud mouth.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 12,722 Senior Member
    Mercury and fly ash are the major problems with coal. And here in the Southeast, regulations have acted to reduce mercury levels in inland and offshore waters and in the fish and other edible critters harvested out of them.

    Problem is, we still have mercury being deposited not just through our current coal plants (which are markedly cleaner!) but global air currents bring Chinese and other nation's pollutants here, eventually. And they don't have environmental regs.

    Nuclear, in my mind, is the way to go.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 23,293 Senior Member
    As much as I'd like to give Obama credit for shutting down dirty coal this is being driven by the flood of cheap domestic natural gas than any EPA regulations. Also, while I'd like to give Obama credit for the regulations, all of these have been in the pipeline for a decade or more. They've just been held up by endless review and bureaucratic red tape, especially during the Bush administration when they were in no hurry to finalize any of them. Utilities have known these were coming for an extremely long time and many of them have been using their army of lobbyists to continuously delay them rather than proactively taking steps to prepare for them.

    Obama said that he would put coal out of business and energy prices would necessarily skyrocket when he was in his first year in office. The EPA timetable to retrofit plants has been proven beyond doubt to be unrealistic as the permitting and construction cannot be done in the amount of time the EPA will allow. The bureaucratic red tape of the EPA makes it impossible to comply with the edicts of the EPA on retrofit. And just like the NRC, the EPA can stop construction and make the plants being retrofitted put in a newer design that just became available, forcing the plants to tear out, re-engineer, and start construction again with the new design.
    The reality is that our coal fleet is aging, dirty, and inefficient and can't compete with inexpensive, clean, and highly efficient combined cycle natural gas plants which are going in like crazy all over the country. Why would you spend a bunch of money to upgrade a 40-50 year old coal plant when you can just plop down a new NGCC plant and be done with it? No need for expensive emissions controls since NG burns much cleaner with virtually no sulfur or mercury which are the real problems with coal (not to mention ~50% the GHG emission, but I know no one here cares about that).

    New coal plants aren't and haven't been built in the last couple of decades due to the unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious enforcement tactics of the EPA. As the saying goes, "You can't get a permit to do an illegal thing", and the EPA has all but made it illegal to build a new coal fired plant. You can sing the praises of combined cycle NG all you wish, but they are inherently dangerous by design. And you do not just "plop one down and be done with it". They require the same permitting cycle for the gas line and the construction permit as a coal fired or nuclear plant. Same environmental impact statement data gathering, too. Say two years for the environmental statement and three for the EPA to get off their dead rear ends and onto their dying feet and make motions to appear as if they are working on the application. Another thing about combined cycle; they also need scrubbers to remove carbon. Don't know what fairy tale you have been reading, but NG produces a lot of carbon, and it is in the insidious fine particulate form that gives people with respiratory problems a hard time.

    That mercury thing you're hung up on like a poorly fitted coat. Coal plants are maybe the largest contributor at 50 tons/year of atmospheric release mercury. But do you know the other MAJOR sources of mercury pollution, both atmospheric and ground? Cement kilns produce a huge amount of atmospheric mercury pollution. 23,000 lbs./yr output from cement kilns. Chlor-alkali plants that make chlorine bleach, laundry detergent, cheap vinyl purses, shoes, and toys made with polyvinyl chloride provide about 80,000 lb/yr of mercury to the environment. Trash incinerators put around 26,000 lb/yr into the atmosphere. Runoff from gold mine tailings puts around 13.5 tons of mercury into the ground and waterways each year. All mining and excavation puts even more into the environment. And then there's those pesky volcanic eruptions that spew mercury, sulfur, radionuclides and other nasty solid and gaseous stuff into the atmosphere.
    As for the "poor miners" in Appalachia, they're in luck too as they can climb out of their dirty holes and go work on the drill rigs and frack crews in the Marcellus and Utica shales in PA, OH, WV. Not only do those jobs generally pay more, they're also a heck of a lot safer.

    "Poor miners". Your elitist 1%er attitude is showing. Also your lack of knowledge of how incompatible a coal miner's skill set fits in with the fracking industry. You are extremely unfamiliar with both skill sets, so best not to parade that in public. They are both jobs with dangerous conditions, BTW. And picking up and moving is/may be hardly an option for them. But I doubt you know anything about that, either.

    Finally, your 8 GW ain't squat to what needs to be put in to keep up. And if the land wasted on the wind farms was converted to the Gen. 3 nuclear units the footprint would be about 1/1000th the acreage with 100% generation capacity all the time. And it would be plants made here in the USA, not wind generators from China and who knows where. Now ain't that a wrench in the bullgear!
    I may be a Deplorable, but at least I'm not a Liberal!!!



  • alphasigmookiealphasigmookie Senior Member Posts: 8,074 Senior Member
    "As for the "poor miners" in Appalachia, they're in luck too as they can climb out of their dirty holes and go work on the drill rigs and frack crews in the Marcellus and Utica shales in PA, OH, WV. Not only do those jobs generally pay more, they're also a heck of a lot safer."

    Yep, problem solved. It's all tied up with a shiny pink ribbon. Let's all slide down the rainbow and float down the chocolate river to Happyville. We can go to the Unicorn petting zoo.
    You have no idea what you're talking about. I'll be very surprised if more than a handful get on with the energy companies. Most will end up on relief.
    And I own stock in an energy co. And my girlfriend works for one. Both heavily involved in fracking. So obviously I'm very pro NG. It has nothing to do with that.

    Obviously it's a simplification, but the general point is that it seems like many of the same people hailing the boom in natural gas and all the jobs and economic development it's leading to are the same ones complaining about the loss of jobs in coal and with a straight face can't seem to figure out the correlation...I think the polite word for this process is "creative destruction"
    "Finding out that you have run out of toilet paper is a good example of lack of preparation, buying 10 years worth is silly"
    -DoctorWho
  • Jim TomJim Tom Member Posts: 338 Member
    When you live in a country where the "Central Planning " is based on emotion and a quest for votes... well, we'll see how it works out.
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 8,807 Senior Member
    Obviously it's a simplification, but the general point is that it seems like many of the same people hailing the boom in natural gas and all the jobs and economic development it's leading to are the same ones complaining about the loss of jobs in coal and with a straight face can't seem to figure out the correlation...I think the polite word for this process is "creative destruction"

    Don't believe the hype. NG is good, but not that good
    .
    There isn't that many jobs coming eith the gas boom. They depressed NG prices so low, they are cutting back production in the wells they just dug.

    Lot of the jobs created are bringing Texans up to do them. You can't swing a dead cat by the tail around here without hitting a truck with Texas plates.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • FiveSevenFiveSeven Member Posts: 289 Member
    Natural gas is the next big ethanol scam.
    Only the optimists suggest that the future is uncertain. The pessimists have done the math.
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 8,807 Senior Member
    FiveSeven wrote: »
    Natural gas is the next big ethanol scam.

    Just the opposite. So easy to get out of the ground they made it to cheap to make big $$$ on......
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • JasonMPDJasonMPD Senior Member Posts: 6,063 Senior Member
    Fisheadgib wrote: »
    Our arrogant president doesn't seem to realize or care that a great many people like myself happen to use coal fired electricity and don't have a choice. Any increase in cost to Southern Company will be passed down to customers. Big companies never eat any increase in their expenses.
    My brother used to work for Craft Foods Which is owned by RJ Reynolds (tobacco) years ago when they lost a big class action lawsuit to the tune of a few billion dollars. They increased the cost of cigarrettes about a dollar a pack to cover the cost of the lawsuit. My brother said they posted record profits the following year because the actual cost of the lawsuit would have only been a few cents per pack.

    Ditto. I live in the southeast; home of coal-fire and oil-fire plants.

    Obama rants that he will make 1-million new manufacturing jobs in the next 4 years. How? His policies are closing down some businesses at record clips. Granted, he said "manufacturing" jobs, but manufacturing what? Coal mining is manufacturing, in a sense. Leave those people alone and focus on cleaning out your desk, Obama.
    “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” – Will Rogers
  • robert38-55robert38-55 Senior Member Posts: 3,621 Senior Member
    Fisheadgib wrote: »
    Our arrogant president doesn't seem to realize or care that a great many people like myself happen to use coal fired electricity and don't have a choice. Any increase in cost to Southern Company will be passed down to customers. Big companies never eat any increase in their expenses.
    My brother used to work for Craft Foods Which is owned by RJ Reynolds (tobacco) years ago when they lost a big class action lawsuit to the tune of a few billion dollars. They increased the cost of cigarrettes about a dollar a pack to cover the cost of the lawsuit. My brother said they posted record profits the following year because the actual cost of the lawsuit would have only been a few cents per pack.


    It's the same here in Las Cruces,NM. We have to buy power from El Paso Electric and I think they still use coal plants.

    bhl2506 wrote:
    Remeber back to the interview Obama made in San Fransico where he stated that under his energy plan we would pay much higher prices for energy. nough said!

    Yea I remember that!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was the only thing Odummy said in his 4yrs of office that wasn't a lie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    "It is what it is":usa:
  • robert38-55robert38-55 Senior Member Posts: 3,621 Senior Member
    And yet we're told Obama is running away with OH and PA

    Doesn't make any sense does it???????????????????????????
    "It is what it is":usa:
  • robert38-55robert38-55 Senior Member Posts: 3,621 Senior Member
    tennmike wrote:
    Lot of the coal plants being shut down are in the Northeast and upper Midwest. They'd better be hoping for a mild winter, as they are going to be short on electric power, and that power will be at higher cost as it will have to be bought from other utilities, assuming that they have excess generation to sell.

    Save your junk mail; you may need to burn it to stay warm this winter! :rotflamo:

    I think we might see a few more coal plants shut down or either scale way back on engery production. This is scary... The bottom line is, the way I rekon is it don't matter what fuel source we use for generating Electric power there will always be some unwanted by-products. Any combustion process on this planet has by products. Some might not be good to injest but it doesn't change the fact that demand for electric power is high in 2012. Sure conservation efforts can help reduce the need for power demands, but it isn't a cure all folks...

    What worries me more is the fact that our basic infastructure in the USA is falling apart like a rotten apple!!!!!!! Even if the Electric companies/engery companies can produce more power they have to have a way to send that power out to where its bought, consumed, used. Is our old outdated, antiquated, over taxed, system of transmission lines able to handle new electric plants? I don't think so, according to some. I am for coal, nuke, NG, solar, wind, what ever it takes to bring this Nation back, to the day of affordable engery for the consumer. I have lived without electric power, running water, etc. a few times in my life. It ain't easy but it can be done. Not only are American's acustomed to having easy acess to electric power but I would say that most of the world now is somewhat acustomed to it now. The old saying goes, You don't miss the power until it's gone. You don't miss the water until the well is dry.
    "It is what it is":usa:
  • robert38-55robert38-55 Senior Member Posts: 3,621 Senior Member
    JasonMPD wrote: »
    Ditto. I live in the southeast; home of coal-fire and oil-fire plants.

    Obama rants that he will make 1-million new manufacturing jobs in the next 4 years. How? His policies are closing down some businesses at record clips. Granted, he said "manufacturing" jobs, but manufacturing what? Coal mining is manufacturing, in a sense. Leave those people alone and focus on cleaning out your desk, Obama.

    :agree::agree::agree::agree::that: Yea Odummy 'Good bye and Good Riddance, to ya too, Don't let the door hit you in your Blessed Assurance on the way out either! Just another lie that Odummy has told in 4yrs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Again the only thing that Odummy has said that was/is the actuall truth is that we can expect to pay more for engery under his plan!!!!!!!!!!! See the other post.
    "It is what it is":usa:
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 23,293 Senior Member
    Re: Buffy and the fly ash.

    Can't really blame y'all for not wanting a fly ash dump. The dry stuff is carried aloft with every breeze if not kept wetted down. Breathing in the dust over time (chronic exposure) can cut up lung tissue bad and form abscesses.

    Fly ash is also slightly radioactive; when coal is burned it concentrates it. It used to be used as a binder and strengthening additive for the concrete slabs in highways until the EPA decided it was too dangerous due to the low radioactivity. It was also used in bricks and in concrete blocks for building. (FWIW radon gas in houses and concrete buildings is a bigger problem than the super low radioactivity in the fly ash)

    It could be sequestered by mixing with low grade concrete and making caltrop type forms for offshore fish havens. But I'd bet that the EPA would squirt their britches full if that were ever put forward as an idea for safe disposal.
    I may be a Deplorable, but at least I'm not a Liberal!!!



  • alphasigmookiealphasigmookie Senior Member Posts: 8,074 Senior Member
    jbp-ohio wrote: »
    Just the opposite. So easy to get out of the ground they made it to cheap to make big $$$ on......

    This is a persistent problem in the oil and gas industry. Boom and bust. The industry seems incapable of rationally producing the resource at rates that keep both supply and prices stable. I don't expect the low prices to last all that long and wouldn't bet on shale gas beyond the next 10, maybe 20 years, but bottom line it's market economics and not Obama or the EPA that's driving things right now. The problem is that "the market" isn't always all that bright. Utilities need to make 30-40-50 year investments and have to make those investments based upon fuel prices that are highly volatile and unpredictable.
    "Finding out that you have run out of toilet paper is a good example of lack of preparation, buying 10 years worth is silly"
    -DoctorWho
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