Friday, June 11, 2010

Coal Talking Points

Use these points to counter arguments that coal is making against solar:

1) PA exports 50% of its coal (from EIA); HB2405 will have no impact on that export business.

Wind and solar are intermittent resources which do not compete with baseload plants like coal. Solar competes with peak power plants, which are natural gas or oil fired plants. Coal plants are baseload power, and baseload will not be impacted by this bill.

3) Wind and coal co-exist just fine – look at TX. TX is the #1 user of coal in the US, and also the #1 state for wind generation. In addition, brownfields sites are perfect locations for solar farms.

PA is #4 in the US in using coal as a source of electricity and #2 in the US for nuclear. The real threat to coal is nuclear and maybe gas at some point!

Renewables have nothing to do with the slide in coal demand – according to coal industry’s own data (Capital Watch), coal peaked in 1918. Today only 25% of the peak is mined (65 million tons/year in 2007 vs. 277 million tons/yr in 1918). Yet, according to DOE, electricity growth in PA. is expected to increase by 1.1% each year.

Coal is almost 55% of Pennsylvania’s current generation. Nuclear is over 30% . Even if solar is phased in to 3% by 2024, that is a very small fraction of Pennsylvania’s energy resource.

Like any investment, it is important to diversify the portfolio (think of retirement accounts), would you put almost all your money into one of two stocks? Think of coal and nuclear as the dominant energy sources in PA and that won’t change during the lifetime of this AEPS requirement.

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