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Can Technology Keep Coal Plants Alive and Well?

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Coal and nuclear are the only globally available and scalable base load electricity source.

Nuclear is too difficult and/or expensive at the moment ( moment=next 30 years perspective).

There is general consensus in the industry that coal will be the largest source of electricity in the next 60-80 years.

Lets get back to the question in 2080-2100 maybe the perspectives of coal would change at THAT moment.

Locally in rich or rich in hydrocarbons countries ( like US) natural gas is the solution.

But this is only locally ( the same as locally is the case with hydro and nuclear )

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On 8/29/2020 at 4:43 AM, Marcin2 said:

Coal and nuclear are the only globally available and scalable base load electricity source.

Nuclear is too difficult and/or expensive at the moment ( moment=next 30 years perspective).

There is general consensus in the industry that coal will be the largest source of electricity in the next 60-80 years.

Lets get back to the question in 2080-2100 maybe the perspectives of coal would change at THAT moment.

Locally in rich or rich in hydrocarbons countries ( like US) natural gas is the solution.

But this is only locally ( the same as locally is the case with hydro and nuclear )

In general I would agree with this, although I'd say natural gas has base load potential in the US because it's so cheap.

New nuclear is expensive *at the moment*, but the reasons for that are more regulatory (Outdated designs = massive safety costs), financial (huge plant + long build time = massive interest costs), and political (on-site union labor is expensive). These issues would all be solved with modern, small, modular designs. Many such designs are in the works. Do you have any thoughts on these?

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If any carbon capture tech becomes available, that doesn't require utilizing 20-30 percent of plant nameplate without it, that could be a savior for coal fired generation.

I don't see much promise of this in the foreseeable future. 

The Boundary Dam plant in Saskatchewan tried it.  It was a real technical and maintenance struggle, which I would expect. AND, they had a customer nearby for the gas.  I guess there's a handful of demo plants out there that I am unaware of.

Economically, it will require some sort of firm guarantee (and perhaps subsidies) from "someone" to move this along.

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