Friday, June 29, 2012

Coal Generation Booms In UK & Displaces Expensive Gas

It is a night and day difference in power markets on the different sides of the Atlantic ocean.  Coal generation is booming in the UK, where it just displaced natural gas as the top source of electricity.

In the UK, coal is rising and provides 42% of its electricity.  In the US, coal is falling and generates 32% of our electricity, as of April 2012.

What's the difference? The price of natural gas is low here and expensive there, because America has embraced the Shale Gas revolution, while the UK and Europe have not.  And so, according to the Sun, "experts say the high price of gas has forced power firms to return to coal" in the UK.

Like it or not, at this stage of the world's development, the basic energy choice is between gas and coal.  That's a fact.


  1. Concerned ScientistJune 29, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    A great cautionary tale for those who oppose shale gas development. For right now, its gas or coal. As long as we are still burning coal, all those who want a livable planet should support shale gas as well as rapid deployment of renewables. Once we have completely displaced coal, we should then look to displace shale gas with renewables. But not until then.

  2. I agree John, completely nutty! Yet the main opposition in the UK is from greens who now having (almost) accepted the science behind tracking points towards safe extraction, are now fighting on the outdated fears that burning natural gas is bad for the climate.

    An aside is that because the US is burning far less coal, US coal is getting exported worldwide. In Europe, coal is still cheaper than gas because of the continuing link between oil and gas. That outdated link depends on the other outdated fear that natural gas will be in short supply!

    The even nuttier part of this is that if Europe doesn't use their own shale gas, they'll end buying US shale in the form of LNG...