Old coal plant is now mining bitcoin for a utility company

Old coal plant is now mining bitcoin for a utility company

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty)

Bitcoin’s massive power consumption is the cryptocurrency’s dirty secret. To mine bitcoin, computers across the globe chew through enough electricity to power a medium size country, somewhere on the order of the Netherlands or Poland depending on the estimate.

In fact, electricity has become such a significant factor that one private equity firm bought an entire power plant to mine bitcoin. The company, Greenidge Generation, said at one point that they could mine one bitcoin for less than $3,000. Even today—at $40,000 per bitcoin, some 30 percent off its peak—the potential for profit is real.

Which is why an investor-owned utility has dropped a containerized data center outside a coal-fired power plant 10 miles north of St. Louis. Ameren, the utility, was struggling to keep the 1,099 MW power plant running profitably when wholesale electricity prices dropped. But it wasn’t well suited to running only when demand was high, so-called peaker duty. Instead, they’re experimenting with running it full-time and using the excess electricity to mine bitcoin.

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#bitcoin, #coal, #cryptocurrencies, #electric-utilities, #fossil-fuels, #policy, #power-plant

China Pledges to Stop Building Coal Plants Abroad: Explained

Beijing is the undisputed king of coal, but the announcement at the United Nations General Assembly this week was cautiously welcomed by climate experts.

#boston-university, #building-construction, #china, #coal, #export-import-bank-of-china, #finland, #general-assembly-un, #greenpeace, #japan, #mines-and-mining, #pakistan, #steel-and-iron, #united-nations, #xi-jinping

China Pledges to Stop Building Coal-Burning Power Plants Abroad

It marks a major shift for one of the biggest backers of coal-fired plants globally. Still, China remains heavily reliant on new coal plants at home, and is the world’s top emitter of greenhouse gases.

#air-pollution, #china, #coal, #general-assembly-un, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #politics-and-government, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change, #xi-jinping

China to stop building coal plants in developing nations

Image of railway tracks leading to a power plant.

Enlarge / Coal plants at the end of the line? (credit: Ryan Pyle / Getty Images)

Chinese President Xi Jinping used his speech to the United Nations General Assembly to announce a major new step towards controlling global emissions. After reiterating his own country’s climate pledges, Xi said that China would start making it easier for other countries to keep emissions in check: new support for renewable energy projects and an end to construction of coal plants.

China finances a lot of infrastructure projects in developing economies as part of its foreign policy efforts; these often have the side benefits of involving Chinese companies and engineers. When these projects involved production of electricity, they often involved China’s most heavily used source: coal. As such, the number of coal plants slated for construction in the developing world was large and raised legitimate questions about the prospect of meeting any global carbon emissions targets.

China had already committed to having its emissions peak at the end of this decade and to reach carbon neutrality by 2060. But until this point, its development banks were continuing to finance coal plants, and its companies would often construct them. In a recorded speech played at the UN today, however, Xi indicated that this would stop: “China will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad.”

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#china, #climate-change, #coal, #energy, #renewable-energy, #science, #un

China Won’t Build More Coal Plants Abroad, Xi Jinping Says

One analyst called the announcement, which the Chinese leader made in prerecorded remarks to the U.N. General Assembly, “an important step by the world’s biggest provider of overseas coal finance.”

#china, #coal, #general-assembly-un, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #speeches-and-statements, #united-nations, #xi-jinping

Dear Joe Manchin: Coal Isn’t Your State’s Future

Coal’s glory days ended during the Reagan era, and they aren’t coming back.

#american-rescue-plan-2021, #appalachian-region, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #coal, #health-insurance-and-managed-care, #labor-and-jobs, #manchin-joe-iii, #united-states-economy, #united-states-politics-and-government, #west-virginia

Democrats Unveil Details of Sweeping Climate Change Spending Plan

At the heart of a budget bill is a powerful mechanism that would cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, which are fueling climate change.

#biden-joseph-r-iii, #coal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #house-committee-on-energy-and-commerce, #house-of-representatives, #law-and-legislation, #senate, #united-states-politics-and-government

German Election: Who Is the Green Party’s Annalena Baerbock?

Annalena Baerbock, the 40-year-old candidate for the Green Party, is likely to have a say in Germany’s next government, no matter who wins this month’s election.

#automobiles, #baerbock-annalena, #budgets-and-budgeting, #carbon-dioxide, #coal, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #elections, #global-warming, #green-party-germany, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #international-trade-and-world-market, #politics-and-government, #solar-energy

A Century Ago, Miners Fought in a Bloody Uprising. Few Know About It Today.

At the Battle of Blair Mountain, thousands of miners clashed with sheriff’s deputies in the largest insurrection since the Civil War.

#battle-of-blair-mountain, #coal, #mines-and-mining, #organized-labor, #strikes, #united-mine-workers-of-america, #west-virginia

China Tells Kerry Strained Ties Could Sink Climate Cooperation

John Kerry, President Biden’s climate envoy, is in China this week pushing leaders to aggressively cut greenhouse gases. But the worsening U.S.-China relationship is taking center stage.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #carbon-caps-and-emissions-trading-programs, #china, #coal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #kerry-john, #state-department, #wang-yi, #weather

A New Coal Mine for England Is Stirring Hopes and Fears

A mining company’s proposal has largely been embraced locally as an economic stimulus, but climate concerns may shelve the idea.

#coal, #conservative-party-great-britain, #cumbria-england, #energy-and-power, #friends-of-the-earth, #great-britain, #labor-and-jobs, #mines-and-mining, #whitehaven-england, #wind-power

G7 Nations Take Aggressive Climate Action, But Hold Back on Coal

President Biden pushed climate action after four years in which Donald Trump rejected cooperation with allies. But leaders failed to set an expiration date for burning coal.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #coal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #group-of-seven, #international-energy-agency, #manchin-joe-iii, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

Dispute Over a Coal Industry Pits Poland Against Its Neighbors

The Czech Republic has sued Poland over a lignite coal mine it says violates European environmental laws. Poles say it’s crucial for jobs and the local economy.

#coal, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #labor-and-jobs, #mines-and-mining, #poland, #politics-and-government, #walbrzych-poland

South Korean Leader to Meet With White House

The Biden administration is expected to press for deeper cuts in South Korea’s greenhouse gas emissions when President Moon Jae-in visits Washington on Friday.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #coal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #moon-jae-in, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change, #united-states-international-relations

Nations Must Drop Fossil Fuels, Fast, World Energy Body Warns

A landmark report from the International Energy Agency says countries need to move faster and more aggressively to cut planet-warming pollution.

#carbon-capture-and-sequestration, #carbon-dioxide, #coal, #energy-and-power, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #international-energy-agency, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline

China’s carbon pollution now surpasses all developed countries combined

China’s carbon pollution now surpasses all developed countries combined

Enlarge (credit: Getty | AFP)

Carbon pollution from China’s bustling, coal-intensive economy last year outstripped the carbon pollution of the US, the EU, and other developed nations combined, making up a whopping 27 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

As China’s economy has grown in the last 30 years, so too have its emissions. While pollution from developed countries has largely been flat since 1990, it has more than tripled in China. The country’s soaring emissions and stable population mean that its per capita emissions have grown quickly, too. At 10.1 tons per person, emissions are just below the 10.5 ton average of the 37-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD.

The US still leads the world in per capita emissions, at 17.6 tons per person, according to Rhodium Group’s numbers, though President Joe Biden has pledged that the US will halve emissions by 2030. The other developed countries in the report include all 27 current EU member states: the UK, Australia, Canada, Chile, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey.

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#carbon-emissions, #china, #climate-change, #coal, #policy, #science

Biden’s Climate Summit Sets Up a Bigger Test of American Power

There were notable pledges of action, but several important greenhouse gas polluters were conspicuously silent. It showed the challenges that lie ahead.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #china, #coal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government, #wang-yi, #xi-jinping

Krugman Wonks Out: The China Shock and the Climate Shock

Change is inevitable, but can we cushion the impact on communities?

#appalachian-region, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #china, #coal, #global-warming, #united-states

Getting Real About Coal and Climate

A document from the United Mine Workers offers reason to hope.

#american-jobs-plan-2021, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #carbon-dioxide, #climate-leadership-council, #coal, #global-warming, #green-new-deal, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #labor-and-jobs, #mines-and-mining, #united-mine-workers-of-america, #united-states-politics-and-government

Biden, Calling for Action, Commits U.S. to Halving Its Climate Emissions

Addressing leaders at a virtual summit meeting he convened, the president cast the fight against global warming as an economic opportunity for the world.

#american-jobs-plan-2021, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #coal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #kerry-john, #united-states-economy, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

Coal Is Set to Roar Back, and So Are Its Climate Risks

To slow down climate change, new coal projects need to end. A global forecast this week shows demand rising sharply.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #china, #coal, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #electric-light-and-power, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #india, #international-energy-agency, #mines-and-mining, #natural-gas, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change

Coal miners’ union lobbies for jobs in renewable energy

Dumptruck full of coal drives through strip mining area.

Enlarge (credit: Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

What if the British crown had offered the Luddites a retraining program and the promise of good-paying factory jobs? Perhaps they would have accepted the textile transition?

That’s essentially what the nation’s largest coal miner union is suggesting. In exchange for job retraining, wage replacement, and preferential hiring for out-of-work coal miners, the United Mine Workers of America would support the transition away from carbon-polluting fossil fuels. It’s also calling for tax incentives to build portions of the renewable energy supply chain in coal country.

“We’ll take good paying jobs any way we can get them,” said Cecil Roberts, the president of the UWMA, in a talk hosted by the National Press Club. “The government has not done a good job, if at all, managing what’s going on in the coal fields,” he said, citing rounds of layoffs and mine closures.

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#ccs, #coal, #energy-policy, #policy, #unions

Florida Crisis Highlights a Nationwide Risk From Toxic Ponds

Thousands of open-air waste pools near power plants, mines and industrial farms can pose safety dangers from poor management and, increasingly, the effects of climate change.

#coal, #duke-energy-corporation, #environment, #factory-farming, #floods, #florida, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #mines-and-mining, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #waste-materials-and-disposal, #water-pollution

Florida’s Crisis Highlights a Nationwide Risk From Toxic Ponds

Thousands of open-air waste pools near power plants, mines and industrial farms can pose safety dangers from poor management and, increasingly, the effects of climate change.

#coal, #duke-energy-corporation, #environment, #factory-farming, #floods, #florida, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #mines-and-mining, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #waste-materials-and-disposal, #water-pollution

China’s Climate Ambitions Collide with its Coal Addiction

Beijing’s new development blueprint is meant to steer the country to carbon neutrality before 2060, but companies and regions dependent on the fossil fuel aren’t making it easy.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #carbon-dioxide, #china, #coal, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #national-energy-administration-china, #xi-jinping

The Promises to Coal Country Are Familiar, but Can Biden Deliver?

For nearly 60 years, presidents have promised to lift up Appalachia, but many communities remain on the brink.

#appalachian-region, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #coal, #kentucky, #labor-and-jobs, #mines-and-mining

Wyoming Coal Country Pivots, Reluctantly, to Wind Farms

In the heart of coal country, the town of Rawlins will soon be home to one of the nation’s largest wind farms. But pride in the fossil fuel past remains a powerful force.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #coal, #environment, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #mines-and-mining, #wind-power, #wyoming

Meet America’s 63rd National Park

The New River Gorge in West Virginia got the federal government’s highest protection, thanks, in part, to the latest pandemic relief bill.

#capito-shelley-moore, #coal, #geology, #hunting-and-trapping, #land-use-policies, #mines-and-mining, #national-park-service, #national-parks-monuments-and-seashores, #parachutes-and-parachute-jumping, #parks-and-other-recreation-areas, #travel-and-vacations, #west-virginia

Coal-Fired Power Took a Beating During the Pandemic, Study Finds

A broad move away from coal power was an important factor in pushing down global greenhouse gas emissions, researchers said, and could help accelerate a shift toward renewable energy.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #coal, #edenhofer-ottmar, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #natural-gas, #potsdam-institute-for-climate-impact-research, #research

Jim Justice, a G.O.P. Governor, on Why Biden Needs to ‘Go Big’ on Covid Aid

The governor of West Virginia, who supported a bigger relief bill than Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, initially did, spoke with us about government spending, Covid-19 vaccinations and climate policy.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #coal, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #democratic-party, #global-warming, #justice-james-c-ii, #manchin-joe-iii, #republican-party, #stimulus-economic, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021, #united-states-politics-and-government, #vaccination-and-immunization, #west-virginia

How Biden’s Climate Ambitions Could Shift America’s Global Footprint

Serious efforts to address global warming might mean big changes for America’s trade, foreign relations and even defense strategy.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #china, #coal, #european-union, #foreign-aid, #foreign-investments, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #kerry-john, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

Court Voids a ‘Tortured’ Trump Climate Rollback

The ruling strikes down weak rules for coal-burning power plants and gives the Biden administration a freer hand to impose tighter restrictions.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #appeals-courts-us, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #coal, #environment, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

US grid will see 80 percent of its new capacity go emission-free

US grid will see 80 percent of its new capacity go emission-free

Enlarge (credit: US EIA)

Earlier this week, the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) released figures on the new generating capacity that’s expected to start operating over the course of 2021. While plans can obviously change, the hope is that, with its new additions, the grid will look radically different than it did just five years ago. This includes the details, where a new nuclear plant may be started up, although it will be dwarfed by the capacity of new batteries. But the big picture is that, even ignoring the batteries, about 80 percent of the planned capacity additions will be emission-free.

New nukes?

The EIA’s accounting shows that just under 40 Gigawatts of capacity will be placed on the grid during 2021, but there are a number of caveats to this. First and foremost is the inclusion of batteries, which account for over 10 percent of that figure (4.3GW). While batteries may look like short-term generating capacity from the perspective of “can this put power on the grid?”, they’re obviously not actually a net source of power. Typically, they’re used to smooth over short-term fluctuations in supply or demand rather than a steady source of power.

Still, given the rarity of grid-scale batteries even a few years ago, 4.3GW of them is striking.

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#batteries, #coal, #energy, #natural-gas, #nuclear-power, #science, #solar, #wind

Covid-19 Took a Bite From U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 2020

Emissions plunged more than 10 percent. If the trend can be sustained, it would put the United States within striking distance of one of its major goals under the Paris climate agreement.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #coal, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #electric-light-and-power, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #rhodium-group-llc, #transportation, #wildfires

Sailors Stranded for Months as China Refuses to Let Coal Ships Unload

China is vague about why vessels that carried Australian coal to its ports can’t unload their cargo. “We’re all depressed; our mental health is deteriorating,” one sailor said.

#australia, #china, #coal, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #freight-cargo, #international-relations, #politics-and-government, #ships-and-shipping

Citing Coal Shortages, China Rations Electricity for Millions

Warning of coal shortages, officials are trying to curb energy usage by telling residents not to use electric stoves and extinguishing lights on building facades and billboards.

#australia, #coal, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #electric-light-and-power, #national-energy-administration-china, #power-failures-and-blackouts, #shortages, #wenzhou-china, #xi-jinping, #yiwu-china, #zhejiang-province-china

China Battles the World’s Biggest Coal Exporter, and Coal Is Losing

China has officially blocked coal imports from Australia after months of vague restrictions. For Australia, the world’s largest coal exporter, the decision is a gut punch.

#australia, #china, #coal, #international-trade-and-world-market, #mines-and-mining, #morrison-scott-1968, #politics-and-government

China, in Nudge to U.S., Makes a New Promise to Tackle Global Warming

Speaking at an online summit on the fifth anniversary of the Paris climate agreement, Xi Jinping said that China would reduce its carbon intensity by over 65 percent by 2030.

#china, #coal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change, #xi-jinping

New York State’s Divestment Threat Is a Victory for Climate Activists

The comptroller’s threat to pull billions from fossil fuel investments is a big victory for climate activists.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #bp-plc, #carbon-dioxide, #coal, #dinapoli-thomas-p, #exxon-mobil-corp, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #natural-gas, #new-york-city, #new-york-state, #office-of-the-comptroller-nys, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #pensions-and-retirement-plans, #stringer-scott-m, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change

Burning Fossil Fuels Helped Drive Earth’s Most Massive Extinction

Massive volcanic eruptions ignited oil and coal deposits in Siberia in the events that led to the Permian-Triassic “Great Dying” event.

#carbon-dioxide, #coal, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #fossils, #geology, #geology-journal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #nature-geoscience-journal, #oceans-and-seas, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #research, #volcanoes, #your-feed-science

When Will Electricity Companies Finally Quit Natural Gas?

Wind and solar are better bets for investors and the planet.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #batteries, #coal, #duke-energy-corporation, #electric-light-and-power, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #sierra-club, #solar-energy, #southern-company, #tennessee-valley-authority, #united-states, #wind-power

Arizona utility proposes economic aid after Navajo Nation coal closures

A train cuts across the scrubby Southwest.

Enlarge / This electric train carried coal from the mines to the Navajo Generating Station, which has now shut down. (credit: Bill Morrow / Flickr)

The physics of climate change dictate that we must move on from fossil fuels to avoid expensive and deadly consequences, but that shift obviously comes with pain for communities and businesses tied to the fossil fuel industry. This may bring to mind coal-mining communities in places like Kentucky and West Virginia, but it’s also playing out across the Navajo and Hopi lands in Arizona and New Mexico.

There are several coal plants located in or near the Navajo Nation, fed by associated coal mines, and staffed by Navajo and Hopi workers—a major source of jobs. Of these, the Navajo Generating Station and Kayenta mine has already shuttered, while the Cholla Power Plant is shutting down over the next few years. The Four Corners plant in New Mexico has seen its planned 2031 retirement date accelerated.

There are several reasons for this. Older coal plants have been retiring across the US as the economics favor cheaper natural gas and renewables. Additionally, the electric utility Arizona Public Service (APS), which owns part of each of these three plants, had a change in leadership at the beginning of the year. New CEO Jeff Guldner announced a plan for the utility to reach zero emissions by 2050, with 45 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2030. That was a shocking reversal considering that APS spent nearly $40 million to fight a 2018 ballot proposition that would have required 50 percent renewables by 2030.

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#arizona, #coal, #navajo-generating-station, #science

Japan’s New Leader Sets Ambitious Goal of Carbon Neutrality by 2050

The announcement, coming weeks after a similar pledge by China, will require a major overhaul of the infrastructure in Japan, which remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

#carbon-dioxide, #coal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #japan, #nuclear-energy, #suga-yoshihide

Japan’s New Leader Sets Goal of Being Carbon Neutral by 2050

The announcement, coming weeks after a similar pledge by China, will require a major overhaul of the infrastructure in Japan, which remains heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

#carbon-dioxide, #coal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #japan, #nuclear-energy, #suga-yoshihide

Oil Industry Expresses Concern, Not Alarm, About Biden Comments

After the candidate called for a “transition” away from oil and gas, executives said the country would need fossil fuels for decades to come.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #carbon-capture-and-sequestration, #coal, #debates-political, #energy-and-power, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #labor-and-jobs, #natural-gas, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #pennsylvania, #presidential-election-of-2020, #shale, #texas, #united-states

When the U.S. and China Fight, It Is the Environment That Suffers

The Trump administration’s moves to decouple the two economies means less leverage over Beijing’s green policies.

#air-pollution, #carbon-dioxide, #chengdu-china, #coal, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #environment, #gansu-province-china, #general-assembly-un, #global-warming, #green-climate-fund, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #hong-kong, #india, #international-trade-and-world-market, #japan, #liu-he-1952, #obama-barack, #outsourcing, #pacific-ocean, #paris-agreement, #pew-research-center, #pollution, #steel-and-iron, #united-states, #united-states-economy, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

‘The Coal Industry Is Back,’ Trump Proclaimed. It Wasn’t.

The demise of coal-fired power plants in Arizona and Kentucky shows how the president, despite promises to restore jobs, failed to counter the forces decimating the industry.

#arizona, #bureau-of-reclamation, #cameron-scott-j, #coal, #craft-joseph-w-iii, #environmental-protection-agency, #gosar-paul-1958, #grand-canyon-ariz, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #interior-department, #jewell-sally, #kentucky, #labor-and-jobs, #layoffs-and-job-reductions, #lazard-llc, #mcconnell-mitch, #mines-and-mining, #murray-energy-corp, #murray-robert-e, #navajo-generating-station, #navajo-indians, #obama-barack, #presidential-election-of-2020, #prine-john, #pruitt-scott, #shutdowns-institutional, #solar-energy, #tennessee-valley-authority, #trump-donald-j, #united-mine-workers-of-america, #united-states-economy, #united-states-politics-and-government, #wehrum-william-l, #wheeler-andrew-r, #zinke-ryan-1961

How Coal-Loving Australia Became the Leader in Rooftop Solar

Embracing solar panels to save money, homeowners have made the country a powerhouse in renewable energy.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #australia, #batteries, #coal, #electric-light-and-power, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #liberal-party-australia, #morrison-scott-1968, #politics-and-government, #queensland-australia, #solar-energy, #wildfires

China’s Pledge to Be Carbon Neutral by 2060: What It Means

Under international pressure to do more to address global warming, Xi Jinping made a surprise commitment to drastically reduce emissions. Now comes the hard part.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #carbon-dioxide, #china, #coal, #communist-party-of-china, #conservation-of-resources, #general-assembly-un, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #politics-and-government, #xi-jinping

EPA issues new rules on coal plant pollution

Coal truck at a mine.

Enlarge / A truck loaded with coal is viewed at the Eagle Butte Coal Mine, which is operated by Alpha Coal, on Monday May 08, 2017, in Gillette, Wyoming. (credit: Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

On Monday, the EPA issued updated rules on pollution limits that haven’t been updated in over 30 years. The rules cover water pollution that results from burning coal for power, pollution that can place a variety of toxic metals into the nation’s waterways. The 2020 regulations replace an Obama-era attempt to set more stringent rules to limit pollution, with the changes motivated in part by the EPA’s decision to avoid having the added costs of control measures push any coal plants out of business.

From fossil fuels to water

Coal is the dirtiest form of electricity generation, with a lot of its problems caused by the release into the air of particulates, toxic metals like mercury, and harmful environmental chemicals like sulfates. But, somewhat ironically, controlling these pollutants creates its own set of problems. Many of processes that remove these chemicals from coal plant exhaust end up with some of the exhaust components dissolved in water.

In addition, the byproduct of coal production, the coal ash, is often cooled and moved out of the plant using water, producing even more contaminated material. The list of toxic materials in this water is extensive—arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium, chromium, and cadmium. These materials have a variety of health effects, and many can persist in the environment for decades or longer. The EPA has estimated that this contaminated water accounts for about 30 percent of all of the toxic pollutants releases in the United States.

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