Coal Burning Declines in US, Emissions Follow

From two different sources — the Wall Street Journal, and the Energy Information Agency — we see how the recession has impacted the coal industry, with an attendant decline in greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

From the WSJ, a story about the big energy firm Dynergy, which apparently was expecting big growth under a Republican administration (having gone about a billion dollars into debt to build nine more coal-fired plants) and has been devastated by the recession, and the fall in demand for energy.

Dynegy
Inc. posted a wider second-quarter loss and confirmed it will sell nine
U.S. power plants to fellow power generator LS Power Associates LP, its
onetime development partner.

LS Power will pay $1.03 billion for eight plants and a ninth under
construction. In addition, it will cut its stake in Dynegy to 15% by
giving back shares it was issued when the two companies formed a joint
venture in 2006 — a venture that was supposed to create the country's
largest new developer of coal-fueled power plants.

[snip]

Many of Dynegy's power plants are fueled by coal, which makes them
less valuable at a time when energy companies are trying to reduce
their carbon-dioxide emissions ahead of expected federal limits on the
greenhouse gas.

Dynegy and other independent power producers, which rely on
wholesale electricity sales at market rates, have been battered by
volatile commodities prices in recent quarters. Power prices track
natural-gas prices, which have fallen sharply. Amid the weak long-term
price outlook, Dynegy has been selling power plants and reducing its
development plans to conserve cash.

And from Dot Earth, a discussion of the latest emission stats from the Energy Information Administration, and a lovely graph of the recession-caused decline…at least in the U.S. As you can see, coal's really taken it in the shorts this year…a little bit of good news for the planet, if not the industry.

Fig23

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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