Saturday, January 02, 2010
How Long Can We Count on Coal?
The environmental consequences of coal use aside, India has a serious shortage of coal to run its thermal power plants. It will have to mine and import a lot more to satisfy its growing appetite for energy, but it turns out that domestic extractable reserves are far more limited than previously thought. This is going to seriously crimp India’s economic growth, but India isn’t the only one with this problem. In recent years several reports have concluded that economically extractable reserves of coal worldwide are much smaller than thought. And if an attempt is made to compensate for expensive oil by producing liquid fuels from coal, that would considerably exacerbate the problem by further accelerating coal use. It’s just a matter of time until India’s coal problem becomes everyone’s problem.