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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Report: Coal use saps Wisconsin's economy

From an article by Larry Bivins in the Stevens Point Journal:

WASHINGTON -- Wisconsin is the nation's fifth most coal-dependent state for generating electricity, according to a report released this week.

Because the state has no coal supplies of its own, it spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year to import the fuel for power generation. Coal imports accounted for 68 percent of all power used in the state in 2008, research by the Union of Concerned Scientists found.
Wisconsin spent $853 million in 2008, or $152 per person, to import 25 million tons of coal from nine states, according to the report released Tuesday.

The state ranked 12th in the amount spent and in the amount of coal imported. Wyoming, which provided 40 percent of all U.S. coal in 2008, received $702 million of Wisconsin's money.

Coal-fired plants are the nation's biggest source of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas that leading scientists say is causing global warming. Carbon dioxide emissions pose a danger to public health as well as the environment.

The Union of Concerned Scientists report, "Burning Coal, Burning Cash: Ranking the States that Import the Most Coal," covers 38 states that are net importers of domestic and foreign coal. Those states spent $27.7 billion on domestic and foreign coal imports in 2008, the latest year for which figures were available from the U.S. Energy Department.
Wyoming, West Virginia and Kentucky produce most of the domestic coal burned in U.S. plants.

The report's authors conclude that all states would be better served if the money spent on coal were diverted to the development of renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs.

1 comment:

  1. It's good to see someone recommending we focus on energy efficiency as a way to decrease our use of coal. Our power plants waste about two-thirds of their energy, throwing it out into the air in the form of waste heat. By recycling that energy -- capturing the waste heat and using it to generate more electricity -- we can double the efficiency of our power plants. That means we can get the same amount of electricity with half the coal and half the emissions. A company I'm associated with, Recycled Energy Development (, does this kind of work.

    Unfortunately, countless regulations stand in the way of improving efficiency through energy recycling. Regulatory reform is critical if we're serious about cutting energy costs and pollution.