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Off the Editor’s Desk – 7-31-2013


In my opinion electric bills are going to get bigger in the next few years. I would think the increase would be very noticeable. Why do I think this, it is because President Obama wants to stop using coal as a fuel to power the generators that produce the electricity we use.

 After all, it takes some 714 pounds of coal to keep a 100-watt light bulb burning 24 hours a day for one year.

Environmentalist and the president point to burning coal as one of the causes of the so-called climate change. They think the world is getting warmer and I might agree, but then a million years ago a big part of Wisconsin was covered by ice. It melted, but not because of burning coal to produce electricity.

Faced with declining demand and stiff federal environmental regulations, coal plant operators are planning to retire 175 coal-fired generators in the United States according to an analysis by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). A record high 57 generators were shut down in 2012 and in 2015, nearly 10 gigawatts of capacity from 61 coal-fired generators will be retired.

The EIA also stated that the low price of natural gas resulting from the shale boom has led to reduced coal consumption, but federal and state regulations have also damaged the industry and contributed to plant closures.

The World Coal Association indicates that “continuous improvements in technology have dramatically reduced or eliminated many of the environmental impacts traditionally associated with the use of coal. There is now growing recognition that technological developments have to be part of the solution to climate change. This is particularly true for coal because its use is growing in so many large economies, including the largest and fastest growing countries such as China and India.”

Next to gas-fired power plants, coal is the cheapest form of producing electricity, I have been told. To remove that from our power mix will surely increase the cost of electricity. In the United States, 45 percent of our power comes from coal. Coal accounts for 41 percent worldwide. Gas comes in third at 21 percent with hydro at 16 and nuclear at 13, oil at five and renewables at just three percent.

I wonder what color the sky is in the President’s world if he thinks that we can drop almost half of our energy production and replace it with renewable sources like wind and solar. If he had a nuclear program that would make sense. But it does not.

As of last year there were 68 civil nuclear power reactors under construction world-wide in 15 countries. Two of those are in the United States while 28 are in China. The two in the U.S. and five new reactors being planned to come on line by 2020 are the only activity scheduled in the United States.

Last year before the Presidential Election, Michael Bastasch wrote in the Daily Caller, “Renewable energy costs have already increased around 32 percent over the 2010 cost and soon are going higher.” He continued, “this White House has not only increased the cost of energy but has: reduced employment on a massive scale, decimated communities and their taxable revenues, shut down coal mines, caused widespread power grid lapses and disrupted a large swath of America’s economic, mid-Atlantic states’ livehood.”

And, that folks, is why I think the cost of electricity will cost us much more. For you people heating with electricity, better find a wood source.

— Carlton