From today’s Financial Times, here’s what it would take to replace coal as a fuel for generating electricity:
It would take a massive effort to replace coal production. Peabody Energy, which owns North Antelope and is the world’s largest private sector coal company, says replacing coal would be a gargantuan task. It would require 2,400 times more solar generation, 40 times more wind power, 250 new nuclear plants, almost double the US production of natural gas, 500 hydro plants the size of the Hoover Dam or halving electricity consumption. Even then, the US would have to find a way to meet new demand, given growth forecasts.
The greens’ choice, of course, is the “halving electricity consumption” option. But never in the history of mankind has reduced energy use been associated with social and economic advancement.