Thursday, September 04, 2008

Clean Coal is a Dirty Lie

Sarah Palin was put forward as the Republican expert on Energy. She did show a lot of energy in her speech, quick to the attack, pausing only for effect on the zingers she shot. However, when it came to the subject of energy policy, she showed a remarkable lack of knowledge when putting forward the suggestion that America should work for Clean Coal.

Let me give a good example of what clean coal really means. It begins with the removal of a mountain top and the filling of valleys to expose the coal. This is not the old time strip mining, unless that practice were on steroids. There are more photos here.

Let me remind you that the Green Party affiliate, the Mountain Party of West Virginia, is a leader in the fight against such ravages to the environment. Still, that is only the beginning.

There was a major Federal program under the administration of George "W" Bush that was intended to develop a new technology for coal fired power plants. It was called the NextGen program. There is an industry council formed by leading coal producers that is leading the way in convincing everyone that this is a real possibility sometime out in the distant future. Now, they are talking about 2015.

Of course, they have not stopped to consider that the continued expansion of conventional coal fired plants... even the continued operation of existing plants... will quite possibly push the current global warming past a tipping point. That, my friends, is a risk that the Republicans... and the Democrats... want you to take.

What none of them tell you is that the US Dept. of Energy scrapped the FutureGen clean coal project in 2008.
The DOE last year signed an agreement with the FutureGen Alliance, a coalition of coal and oil companies, to spend about $950 million on a demonstration coal-fired power plant that injects carbon dioxide emissions underground. Last December, a site for the FutureGen project in Matoon, Ill., was announced by the Alliance.
It was deemed to be too expensive for the payback.

DOE is turning to Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) as a solution to the problem of the buildup of Greenhouse Gasses, the prime cause of global warming. While some things work, others are still very, very expensive and, we don't have the time if we are going to stop the warming of this planet.

When Sarah Palin puts on her Peabody Energy hat and talks about clean coal, you know that it may lead to votes but it is ultimately only a lot more hot air that we can't afford to have around.

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