Clean Coal Financials Daunting in the Short Term


photo: J Aaron Farr via flickr

We've consistently pointed out that there's really no such thing as clean coal, when you look at how the stuff is mined, the waste, and all the other emissions beyond greenhouse gases. Now, a new study coming out of Harvard's Belfer Center takes a look at the financials of clean coal. As the Wall Street Journal puts it, the short term isn't pretty:The analysis shows that until carbon capture technology is "mature" the costs will be very expensive -- meaning until 50-100 GW of coal plants operating capturing and storing their emissions; I can count on one hand the number or operating CCS projects today.

First Generation Plans Could Double Average Electricity Costs
The first generation of plants capturing 90% of their emissions will do so at a price of $100-150 per ton -- translating into an additional 8-12 cents per kilowatt-hour, effectively doubling the national average price of electricity.

Once the technology matures, those costs will drop to $30-50 per ton, an extra 2-5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Fellow TreeHugger John Laumer has pointed all this out before and suggested that the green movement should pick its battles -- the financial costs alone of capturing these emissions will move us away from coal.

More: Wall Street Journal
Clean Coal
Carbon Capture and Storage Will Happen - Here's Why We Should Support It
The Carbon Sequestration Cost Everyone Else Forgot
Carbon Capture Makes Renewables Look Better, Suggests Swedish Report

Tags: Carbon Sequestration | Clean Coal | Coal | Economics | Electricity

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