Monday, September 16, 2013

Another Nail in Coal’s Coffin – Duke Power to End Coal Fired Plants in Indiana

And Unfortunately No Politicians Are going to Provide Relief for Displaced Coal Industry Workers

Coal is dying, which is only fair since burning coal to produce electricity is deadly to humans, plants and animals.  The process of burning coal to produce electricity is being replaced with the huge increase in supplies of natural gas and the less huge increase in alternative energy sources like solar and wind.

This is incremental, of course, and one of the increments is the decision of Duke Power to reach a settlement with the environmental community in Indiana, resulting in an end to using coal in some plants.

Under the settlement, Duke Energy agreed to retire by June 1, 2018, four coal-fired units at its Wabash River Station in West Terre Haute that date to the 1950s and generate a combined 350 megawatts of power.
Duke has also agreed to stop burning coal at a fifth unit at the Wabash River Station by June 1, 2018, and says it is exploring refitting that unit to burn natural gas. The settlement does not prevent it from making such a conversion before the deadline.
Duke spokeswoman Angeline Protogere said a sixth unit is owned by Wabash Valley Power Association and is already powered by synthesis gas.

What all this means is that coal mining and coal mining jobs will continue to decline.  Government has an obligation to attend to the upset in the economies of coal mining communities and to aid the movement away from coal jobs and into other jobs.  But politicians don’t like to spend money they don’t have in areas that don't have a lot of votes, and they do like to lie.  So they will go out into the coal areas of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Virginia and promise to revive and support the industry.  They are lying to get votes.  And after the election they will just walk away from these sparsely populated communities, towns and villages that are scarred environmentally by the mining of coal and scarred economically by the decline of coal.  For those employed in the coal industry, the tragedy just continues.

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