Coal Follies by Peter Burrows email@example.com – silvercityburro.com 7/7/19
New Mexicans are going to pay a huge price for shutting down the coal-fired San Juan generating plant and the coal mines that supply it. Hundreds will lose their jobs and our electricity bills are going to go through the roof. While this is going on, the world-wide use of coal to generate electricity will be INCREASING dramatically.
Why is New Mexico going one way, the world another? Because the poor people of the world know that to escape poverty, they need electricity, the cheaper the better. The relatively rich people of New Mexico have lived so long with cheap electricity that they have forgotten that elementary economic fact. They will relearn it as expensive renewable-electricity replaces cheap coal-electricity.
Some of the environmentalists who rule New Mexico know that renewables will cost more, but they could care less. They see coal as the number one cause of global warming –- catastrophic global warming — so shutting down the coal-fired San Juan generating plant is doing God’s Work. If it takes a little dukin’ and jivin’ to get the public to go along, so be it. It’s for their own good.
Really? I wonder if the public would buy the con if they knew the facts about world-wide coal use. China, for example, gives lots of lip service to cutting carbon dioxide emissions while building “a massive cohort of hundreds of new coal-fired plants,” so many that the added capacity “nearly matches the entire capacity of the existing US fleet of coal stations: 266GW.”
Furthermore, China is busy building dozens of new coal-fired generating plants OUTSIDE of China, especially in Pakistan and Indonesia. The alleged cost effectiveness of renewables has apparently gone unnoticed in Pakistan, where wind and solar “account for only 10 percent” of the new electricity. Probably too cloudy and not windy enough in Pakistan. Right.
India is another country ostensibly supporting carbon reduction policies while building lots of new coal-fired plants. India has 36,158 gigawatts of generating capacity under construction and another 57,800 GW in the planning stages, which together will increase India’s coal-fired electric generating capacity by over 40 percent.
The Times of India last January 22, headlined: “52 coal mines opened in 5 years to fuel power drive,” noting that the new mines had added 77 million metric tonnes to India’s annual coal production, an increase of 113% to 164 million tonnes. That compares to New Mexico’s annual coal production of 13, 844,000 short tons (https://www.eia.gov/state/print.php?sid=NM) which equals 12,559,000 metric tonnes.
To put this in perspective, New Mexico’s environmentalists would have us believe that we are making a meaningful contribution to the war on global warming by curtailing our use of coal while India, just the nation of India alone, in the last five years has increased coal production by over 6X the TOTAL New Mexico production. India coal production is now over 13X what New Mexico produced last year, and India isn’t through expanding both its production and use of coal.
India and China aren’t the only nations increasing the use of coal generation. Worldwide, the megawatts of capacity under construction and in the planning stage will add over 15% to world coal-generating capacity. https://endcoal.org/global-coal-plant-tracker/
Question: If New Mexicans knew that shutting San Juan was going to cost both a lot of jobs and lot of money at the same time the rest of the world was building more San Juans, HUNDREDS more San Juans, do you think they would have gone along with it? I would hope not, but this is New Mexico, land of Insanity.