Energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly practices are, of course, positive goals. We all want to do our part for the planet and support greener practices. However, interestingly enough, some of the methods that were formerly thought to fall into this category are now proving to be anything but. Take, for example, “clean coal,” and how one power plant charged with its use is turning out to be disastrous.
In the rural area of Kemper County, Mississippi, Mississippi Power Co.’s plant was supposed to use low-quality coal to produce nonpolluting energy, thereby showing the great value of this undertaking. It’s one of only three clean coal plants in the country. However, what started out as a plan for the future of clean, inexpensive energy has, according to this article, “been such a calamity” that its low income customers are experiencing “double-digit rate increases” while the plant “hasn’t generated a single kilowatt for customers.”
As a result, despite government financial incentives, other companies will likely not go ahead with any plans to undertake a similar effort, watching
as the parent company, Sothern Co., has subsequently seen its stocks plummet.
On the other hand, our country’s natural gas is proving to be cheap and abundant, aiding industries and, according to articles like this one, giving the US “the prospect not just of energy independence but of playing a Middle Eastern-style strategic role as an exporter.”
While plants fueled by natural gas are generating power at lower costs, the Kemper County coal-fueled plant is now facing costs estimated at $4.7 billion, almost $2 billion more than originally projected.
So the question to ask is, is the future in clean coal? Probably not.