The newsLINK Group - Electricity and Coal

Editorial Library Category: Mining Topics: Electricity, Coal Title: Electricity and Coal Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Imagine what life would be like if you didn’t have electricity — ever. Even worse, imagine trying to cook if you didn’t have cooking fuel that was clean. In 2035, the International Energy Agency (IEA) thinks there will be a billion people without any electricity, and 2.7 billion who don’t have clean cooking fuels. Editorial: Electricity and Coal 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Imagine what life would be like if you didn’t have electricity — ever. Even worse, imagine trying to cook if you didn’t have cooking fuel that was clean. In 2035, the International Energy Agency (IEA) thinks there will be a billion people without any electricity, and 2.7 billion who don’t have clean cooking fuels. What’s a clean cooking fuel? It’s a little easier to define if you know what an unclean cooking fuel is: fuel such as wood and dung, both of which can cause serious household pollution and respiratory problems. Can you imagine keeping things sanitary if you are burning dung in order to cook your food? Can you imagine how your home would stink? If you burned wood, too, think about how hard it would be to go out looking for that wood every day. It might be easy at first, but it wouldn’t stay easy. Energy makes it possible to provide people with both sanitation and medical care. It powers business and industry, and it makes it possible for people to have secure jobs. Take away any hope of getting or keeping clean, of getting an education, good medical care, or a steady job that provides reliable income, and then take away the businesses and industries you probably take for granted. The only thing left is extreme poverty without any hope of change or improvement. That’s not a world anyone wants to live in. You probably think that’s not a world you’ll ever have to live in under any circumstances, either, but our world has never been so interconnected, and our study of history tells us that circumstances on this earth can change fast. There isn’t a rulebook somewhere saying that the U.S. is simply not allowed to experience an energy crunch. Even if there were, who would pay attention to it? Every nation in the world is hungry for energy, and as someone once said, there are only two kinds of people in the world: the quick and the underfed. When it comes to energy, nobody wants to be in the category of being underfed because nobody wants to deal with all the consequences it would bring. People need food and shelter, but they also need energy. So do businesses and industries, which are both large consumers of electricity. In 2008, 42 percent of the electricity that was used was used by industry. That is why energy access throughout the world is crucial for the U.S. and for the rest of the world, too: it improves quality of life, and it makes it possible to think about ending poverty forever. What happens if we don’t act? By 2030, 1.5 million people may die before their time because they have too much household pollution, don’t have basic sanitation, or can’t get adequate medical care. And poverty will continue to limit people all over the world, placing them in a hopeless situation that won’t change until their access to energy, and everything associated with that energy, improves. Now is the time to build the necessary worldwide infrastructure so that people will have the energy they need to live, be healthy, and get an education. The need is so great that we are going to need every source of energy we have, using whatever will be most effective for a particular circumstance. We aren’t going to have the luxury of saying that one technology is good and another is bad. We need to use what we have, and when there is a negative aspect to a particular form of energy, we need to figure out how to get around the negatives and make them work anyway. Specifically, that means we are going to need to continue using coal. Lots of developing nations may not have nuclear power, but they do have coal, and one of the best uses for coal is to create electricity that is then distributed through national grids. The IEA, in fact, thinks that more than 50 percent of on-grid additions will have to be provided by coal. Even as recently as 2009, coal provided more electrical power from power plants than any other form of fuel: 41 percent compared with gas (21 percent), hydro (16 percent), nuclear (13 percent), oil (5 percent) and renewables (3 percent). Is it important to continue working to make coal as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible? Of course it is. The good news is that engineers and scientists are making, and will

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