Coal energy has been used for hundreds of years for humanities uses, however due to ecological concerns and also supply may be a thing of the past in the near future.
However, numerous nations have increased their usage of it in the last decade or so. Let’s get a look at the positives and the negatives of using this product for our energy needs.
What Are The Pros Of Coal Energy?
- Coal Supply Abundance
There is coal available on every continent, spanning over 70 nations all around the globe, thus enabling an almost eternal supply in nature. As a matter of fact, the highest reserves of coal are found in India, China, the United States and Russia. Additionally, generation of coal energy is something that can be done 7 days a week, 24 hours each day. When compared to renewable energy that is only intermittent, coal energy is more reliable and predictable as a power source.
- Low Capital Investment On Coal Energy
Looking at statistics, capital investment on coal based power will cost between $1 to $2 USD per watt for thermal capacity. When you compare this to solar and wind energy, which are known to be higher, coal is very affordable. As a matter of fact, coal mines will usually be a lot cheaper to acquire and they are lower in cost when it is time to build.
Such a cheap cost of energy is a major option in countries like India and China. In India, at $20US per ton, it can be possible to get coal energy at a fairly low cost when compared to other locations. Even more so, electricity that is coal based will be considered as being the cheapest electricity source, costing 2-4 cents/kilowatt hour.
- Huge Potential Versus Oil
When compared to other fossil fuels like gas and oil, the potential for coal energy is huge. As a matter of fact, global coal reserves have been estimated to get to about a trillion tons. Because of this, it can last for about 200 years according to current consumption rates.
- Wider Industrial Base
Ever since the Industrial Revolution, coal as been a big part of history, especially when looking at the coal-based steam engine. Today, the technology and industry of thermal power and the coal industry have matured and developed greatly. Due to this development, there has been a rapid spread in coal power in a variety of places all around the world.
- Industrial Uses
While oil continues to be a costly and scarce fuel source, coal is being researched as a wonderful source of fuel for transportation. By the same token, liquid plants have been developed in both India and China. Even though it is still in the infancy stage and there are environmental issues at hand, this is something that has huge potential according to experts. However, it’s impacted greatly on the Australian company’s providing the coals worth.
Coal Energy Cons
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions
A leading concern regarding coal energy happens to be the emission of greenhouse gas. This is something that releases carbon dioxide from dead animals and plants from millions of years ago. This process can transfer the carbon into the environment, leading to the impact of global warming.
- Coal Mining Deaths
Ever since coal discovery, there has been a major impact of deaths in the thousands throughout the years due to coal mining. These deaths have taken place not only in areas that do not have strict safety regulations, but also in more developed nations such as New Zealand and the United States.
- Land Destruction
Animal habitats that are near coal mining areas are always in danger of being destroyed, while also included the destruction of scenery. This can lead to the pollution of air and water while also eliminating trees. To add to this, there are a lot of fires that have been connected to the coal mines where underground burning can be extremely difficult to identify, leading to a lot of lost people and properties due to the difficulty when it comes to extinguishing.
- Human Relocation
There are some people who are needing to move due to the hollowing of soil from the earth beneath their homes. Mining areas in places like West Bengal in India are considered to be unsafe for people to dwell or animals to roam freely.
- Harmful Emissions
There are a number of harmful substances that can be emitted into the air from thermal plants. Such substances include carbon monoxide, selenium, mercury, arsenic and sulfur dioxide. All of these toxins can pollute the population and lead to acid rain. Even though there are a number of counter measures that are being followed to try to cut back on the impact of these substances, it is still unsafe for people to live in these areas.