Wed Aug 16th, 2006 at 11:09:01 PM EST
The "clean coal" approach to electricity generation is moving ahead.
Xcel Energy is proposing to build the nation's first clean-coal power plant in Colorado that will capture carbon emissions--a move hailed as a breakthrough with major national implications.
The plant would use a system known as integrated gasification combined cycle, or IGCC, in which coal is baked under high pressure and temperature to produce a gas that burns more cleanly and efficiently than raw coal.
And as things develop, the environmental movement will have to start taking sides. In this case, at least one such group is supporting the idea.
Even one of Xcel's traditional critics - the Boulder-based environmental research firm Western Resource Advocates - lauded the new power-plant plan. "It's a landmark proposal," said John Nielsen, energy program director of the firm. "This is a major step forward in how the West and the rest of the country can produce electricity from coal while reducing greenhouse gases from the power sector." http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_4187912
Xcel's plant would be the first to use the carbon-capture technology and to use lower-energy-content coal. The carbon dioxide then would be injected underground, possibly in declining oil and natural-gas wells to help push the last bits of petroleum out.
I suppose it's better than a nuclear plant, but this proposal does seem to support my conjecture that the United States will "solve" her energy problems by burning her huge coal reserves, come Hell or High Water.