A Dec. 22, 2010 photo shows the Portland generating plant on River Rd., just south of Portland, Pa., on the Delaware River. The federal Environmental Protection Agency will schedule a public hearing early in the coming year to discuss whether the plant should be forced to reduce its emissions. (AP Photo/TheRecord, Leslie Barbaro)
There’s been a fair amount of buzz so far in the new year about a Saturday Washington Post article, Coal’s burnout: Have investors moved on to cleaner energy sources?
The nut graphs:
The headline news for the coal industry in 2010 was what didn’t happen: Construction did not begin on a single new coal-fired power plant in the United States for the second straight year.
This in a nation where a fleet of coal-fired plants generates nearly half the electricity used.
But a combination of low natural gas prices, shale gas discoveries, the economic slowdown and litigation by environmental groups has stopped – at least for now – groundbreaking on new ones.
“Coal is a dead man walkin’,” says Kevin Parker, global head of asset management and a member of the executive committee at Deutsche Bank. “Banks won’t finance them. Insurance companies won’t insure them. The EPA is coming after them. . . . And the economics to make it clean don’t work.”