Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

End Of The Road For Big Coal?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 4, 2008

Sure looks like it:

Natural-gas and renewable power projects have leapt ahead of coal in the development pipeline, according to Global Energy Decisions, a Boulder, Colo., energy information supplier. Gas and renewables each show more than 70,000 megawatts under development compared with about 66,000 megawatts in the coal-power pipeline.

This year could diminish coal’s future prospects even more. Wall Street investment banks last month said they will now evaluate the cost of carbon emissions before approving power plants, raising the bar much higher for new coal projects, analysts say.

“What you’re seeing is a de facto moratorium on coal power right now,” says Robert Linden, a senior oil and gas analyst at Pace Global in New York. “You turn off the money spigot, you’ve turned off those plants.”

When the banks are skittish about the hidden costs of coal, that means things aren’t looking too good for it.

Another thing the banks must be noticing: The likelihood, verging on certainty, that solar technology will be consistently cheaper than coal in another five years. With the advent of printed thin-film solar panels that provide energy for $1 a watt — the same cost as coal before all of coal’s hidden costs are factored in — suddenly solar isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the cost-effective thing to do. (And wind power’s coming along nicely, too.)

4 Responses to “End Of The Road For Big Coal?”

  1. MEC said

    So Wall Street is doing more than Bush’s government to protect us from pollution. The mind boggles.

  2. Look at it this way: While Bush is all about the oil and protecting himself and his buddies, Wall Street’s not pro-oil/coal so much as it’s pro-money. Sane businesspeople who look at the cost/benefit ratios of various energy technologies are increasingly in favor of renewable energy. Now that Nanosolar’s broken the $1/watt barrier, and now that wind energy’s picked up steam (offshore wind farms are a great way to repurpose old oil rigs), suddenly a tipping point’s been reached.

  3. […] state that this is very likely originating from the lobbyist firms for Big Coal and Big Nuclear. With investment banks suddenly unwilling to provide easy financing for new coal plants, and with no new US nuclear plants having opened since 1996, there’s a lot at stake for these […]

  4. […] financial industry has already recognized this: Financing for new coal plants in the US had all but dried up even before the credit crunch. The utility companies will still try to shove coal plants down our throats, the financing for them […]

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