Reality heaps coals of fire on Green heads 6

Obama wants wind, sun, and algae to provide the energy needed by the nation. He hates coal. Coal mines are being closed, or operating under ever more onerous regulations and restrictions.

But – as Steven Hayward of PowerLine reports , quoting various sources –

If you draw back a bit and take a look around the world, what you find is that the fastest growing source of energy continues to be: Coal.

China approved the construction of more than 100 million tonnes of new coal production capacity in 2013 – six times more than a year earlier and equal to 10 percent of U.S. annual usage – flying in the face of plans to tackle choking air pollution. The scale of the increase, which only includes major mines, reflects Beijing’s aim to put 860 million tonnes of new coal production capacity into operation over the five years to 2015, more than the entire annual output of India.

Germany too is mining more coal. Much more.

Some windless and cloudy days last month rendered Germany almost entirely dependent on old-fashioned fossil fuels and nuclear to provide their electricity …

Germany’s wind and solar power production came to an almost complete standstill in early December. More than 23,000 wind turbines stood still. One million photovoltaic systems stopped work nearly completely. For a whole week coal, nuclear and gas power plants had to generate an estimated 95 percent of Germany’s electricity supply.

But what will happen when Germany shuts down all its nukes because they fear a tsunami from the North Sea? They’re going to build more coal plants:

Germany’s energy transition has also been a transition to coal: Despite multi-billion subsidies for renewable energy sources, power generation from brown coal (lignite) has climbed to its highest level in Germany since 1990. It is especially coal-fired power plants that are replacing the eight nuclear power plants that were shutdown, while less CO2-intensive, but more expensive gas-fired power plants are currently barely competitive. Energy expert Patrick Graichen speaks of Germany’s “energy transition paradox”: the development of solar and wind farms, yet rising carbon dioxide-emissions.

Europe as a whole is turning, or returning, to coal.

Europe’s appetite for cheaper electricity is reviving mines that produce the dirtiest type of coal  

Across the continent’s mining belt, from Germany to Poland and the Czech Republic, utilities …  are expanding open-pit mines that produce lignite. The moist, brown form of the fossil fuel packs less energy and more carbon than more frequently burned hard coal.

The projects go against the grain of European Union rules limiting emissions and pushing cleaner energy. Alarmed at power prices [that are] about double U.S. levels, policy makers are allowing the expansion of coal mines that were scaled back in the past two decades …

And in the US, coal – loved or hated – still fuels the nation:

Coal remains the biggest source of fuel for generating electricity in the U.S. and coal exports are growing fast. Demand is being stoked by the rise of power-hungry middle classes in emerging economies, led by China and India. By the end of this decade, coal is expected to surpass oil as the world’s dominant fuel source

The moral of the story is, as Steven Hayward says: “Reality intrudes on green dreams.”

Or, in the words of another familiar but too often ignored aphorism: “You can’t buck the market.”

  • Azgael

    Ah reality, hits like a 10 ton truck

    • liz

      Like when ships powered the old fashioned way had to rescue the global warming scientists from the ice!
      By the way, have you heard of the “American Spring” scheduled for May 16 in D.C.?

      • Azgael

        you mean like the Arab spring?

        • liz

          It is “Operation American Spring”- googling that will get you to the website of a Col. Riley. It is to be a gathering of citizens in Washington DC like the Arab Spring.
          If enough people participated, it might be effective.

          • REALBEING

            Obama would love to see his dissenters at an Operation American Spring! It would give him a chance to turn the fire hoses on us!

      • Jillian Becker

        No, we haven’t picked up word of that. Please tell us more about it, liz.