Coal makes up lost ground in 2010

A recent article describes the energy industry’s year in 2010. Short version, coal boomed and renewables had serious setbacks. 2010 numbers turned 2009 numbers on their head.

The inability of Congress to determine a credible and workable energy policy has left the entire energy industry in a state of flux. The pall cast by world wide economic downturn has hampered renewable generation investment. This has led wind energy proponents in this article to openly admit that their primary means of pushing renewables to the front again are not market-based; they are, 1) subsidies, and 2) legislative and regulatory mandates.

Tough times have dented economic production and thus affected energy consumption. But coal has proved itself to be among the most durable fuel. If wind is prioritized, the industry says that it could surpass the expectations. That would entail the new Congress extending the favorable tax breaks that are now given to developers as well as enacting a renewable portfolio standard that mandates more green energy. (emphasis added)

With government interest in forcing federal renewable portfolio standards dropping off, some of the interest in wind construction is also lagging.

Interestingly, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is reporting that in 2010 coal accounted for 39 percent of all new installations while wind made up 14 percent. In 2009 that relationship was the inverse.

About 15 coal plants have recently been announced. Of those, 12 are progressing, says the National Energy Technology Lab.

26. January 2011 by Jason Hayes
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