Donald Trump has tossed around the term “clean coal” in his murky plan to boost jobs in the fossil fuel industry for months now. Most recently in a video in which the president-elect vowed to “cancel job killing restrictions on the production of shale energy and clean coal, creating many millions of high-paying jobs” during his first 100 days in the office. What Trump meant by “clean coal” is unclear. Coal is a dirty fuel with a declining fortune. With production falling, at least half a dozen coal mining companies have filed for bankruptcy within the past two years. Technical advances in fracking have increased the production of natural gas and driven down prices, making it cheaper than coal and a more attractive source of energy for power generation. How Trump plans to beat that economic reality to promote the production of both coal and natural gas is puzzling. While the term feels like an oxymoron, it’s used more often within the energy industry to refer to an expensive technology called carbon capture and storage (CCS) that once promised to keep coal power a dominant source of electricity for decades to come. Efforts to make clean coal technology affordable in the US have so far failed despite hundreds of millions of dollars in government and private funding. But public and private funding continue to pour in as proponents believe the technology will play an important role in many countries that have pledged to cut emissions and abide by the Paris climate agreement that went into effect last month.
Guardian 4th Dec 2016 read more »