Europe Turns to Coal Again, Raising Alarms on Climate

This is an article from NYtimes.com 4/23/08

Very interesting article about how the pluses of coal outweigh the fears of climate change in Europe.  The picture is also very dramatic!!!  The entire article would have taken up 3 pages, so I just gave a teaser and the rest in online at this link

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/23/world/europe/23coal.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

CIVITAVECCHIA, Italy — At a time when the world’s top climate experts agree that carbon emissions must be rapidly reduced to hold down global warming, Italy’s major electricity producer, Enel, is converting its massive power plant here from oil to coal, generally the dirtiest fuel on earth.

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Marco Di Lauro for The New York Times

Italy’s Civitavecchia power plant is converting from oil to coal.

Over the next five years, Italy will increase its reliance on coal to 33 percent from 14 percent. Power generated by Enel from coal will rise to 50 percent.

And Italy is not alone in its return to coal. Driven by rising demand, record high oil and natural gas prices, concerns over energy security and an aversion to nuclear energy, European countries are expected to put into operation about 50 coal-fired plants over the next five years, plants that will be in use for the next five decades.

In the United States, fewer new coal plants are likely to begin operations, in part because it is becoming harder to get regulatory permits and in part because nuclear power remains an alternative. Of 151 proposals in early 2007, more than 60 had been dropped by the year’s end, many blocked by state governments. Dozens of other are stuck in court challenges.

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3 Responses

  1. Carbon sequestration remains the biggest question mark. While economical methods exist for carbon dioxide capture, what to do with that CO2 is the real issue.

    Sure, natural gas and oil have fewer greenhouse gas emissions, but it doesn’t take an economist to realize that on a global scale a moratorium on coal will adversely effect the prices/supply of other fuels.

    Global warming is the sort of problem that requires an equal sacrifice from all energy-hungry countries… making it an impossible problem to solve from a capitalist perspective. If everyone is working in their own self interest, everyone loses. An interesting parallel can be drawn to the “Prisoner’s Dilemma”, a concept used in game theory. Very interesting article here: http://opim.wharton.upenn.edu/~clemons/blogs/prisonersblog.pdf
    I guess in this example the US is staying silent while Europe rats us out.

    In terms of efficiency, the article notes that the new Italian plant uses the waste heat stream from the coal plant for a fish farm. This has me wondering, can you further increase the efficiency of the plant by adding some sort of stirling engine or organic rankine cycle? This would apply to nuke plants, as well, i suppose.

  2. There are all sorts of ideas that might produce enough power, one of these days. But our problem is now. We must start building immediately, or we’ll end uplike South Africa, blackouts, and more to come for five years – because they faffed about, waiting for the market to provide a proper power station.

    Fact is, the only way we KNOW that we can produce power we need in the quantities we want is nuclear.

  3. Has anybody heard of sustainable energy such as
    wind, Hydra, Solar, Wave, kinetic.
    This type of energy production is far more sustainable and green. This is the way to go

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