“This is not a particularly sexy issue, but it is important…”
Columnist Bob Roper writes in the Columbia Daily Tribune:
Like everyone, no doubt, I always have assumed that when I flip a switch to turn on the lights, they will, indeed, come on. Likewise, I always believed the electric rates I have to pay for that electricity would be as low as reasonably possible. I am starting to have doubts about both of those assumptions.
It has never been a secret that the Obama administration is hostile to burning coal as an energy source. After all, then-candidate Barack Obama had this to say in 2008: “If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” As it happens, no one is planning to build any new coal-fired plants at present. Message received.
So, what is going on here? After all, the proposed cap-and-trade law — the attempt to solve the alleged global warming problem by greatly limiting carbon dioxide emissions — did not pass Congress. Apparently the failure of the cap-and-trade system to pass through the representative government process means nothing to the Environmental Protection Agency. It knows best, so we are going to get it anyway, in the form of very restrictive regulations. And, remember, these regulations apply to existing power plants, including Columbia’s…
I am not particularly fond of coal as an energy source, even though the newer plants are much cleaner than the old ones. But there is one thing I really like about it: It is not only plentiful but very inexpensive compared to the alternatives. Here are the usual ranges of the costs per megawatt-hour of the most common sources of energy:
Coal: $13-$27 per megawatt-hour
Natural gas: $40-$70 per megawatt-hour
Oil: $80-$150 per megawatt-hour
Nuclear power: difficult to calculate precisely but clearly much higher than coal
Wind: $45-$65 per megawatt-hour
Solar: $60-$120 per megawatt-hour…