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Report says clean coal will help West

A new report about the future of coal says if cleancoal technology becomes economically feasible, Western U.S. coal stands to benefit more than Appalachian coal.

The report, “The Green Side of Black,” from HSBC, a London-based bank, says power companies that would capture and store carbon emissions would need more coal to supply the same amount of energy they produce today to make up for energy used in the process. That demand would benefit companies with vast Western reserves like Arch Coal and Peabody Energy, Keith Johnson of The Wall
Street Journal
reports, while companies that rely heavily on Appalachian coal like Consol and Massey don’t have as much upside.

The report also says Peabody’s large Australian metallurgical coal reserves could help fuel the Asian market. HSBC notes that the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects coal to fuel 47 percent of domestic electricity through 2030, about the same as now, even without steady progress on clean-coal technology.

The technology faces obstacles. Its economics now and in the near future are dismal, Johnson writes, while the sheer infrastructure investment needed is daunting. If coal becomes more expensive or less abundant in the future, he adds, the investment to clean it up may not prove worthwhile.

— Source: Institute for
Rural Journalism and Community


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