North American Natural Gas Dynamics: Coal-Fired Generation in North America - A Review
Study Released March 18, 2011
CERI Study 123 - Part III
Coal power plants conjure up strong images for individuals and groups on both sides of a raging debate about the future of electricity generation and the environment. Whether they are changes in national legislation and regulation, or state/provincial programs and initiatives promoting reductions in GHGs or increasing the use of various renewables, many jurisdictions are trying to discover the balance between minimizing environmental impacts and maintaining a modern, reliable electricity system. While the province of Ontario is moving steadily to permanently shut down all coal-fired generation by 2014 – as part of the Open Ontario Plan – other jurisdictions suggest that advances in coal technology, such as supercritical coal-fired generation, CO2/O2 combustion, CO2 capture and sequestration and Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) offer cleaner coal options. Amidst the debate and discussions and planning, one thing is abundantly clear; the worlds’ thirst for energy is growing, as is the demand for energy in North America. This study focuses on North America and the current state of coal-fired generation in the United States and Canada, within a global context. The latter reviews global coal reserves, production and consumption. While not providing a synopsis of who is pulling and pushing in the debate to find a balance over energy production and the environment, this study reviews the current state of coal-fired power generation in North America and explores various elements and statistics of the industry in the US and Canada.