Coal it off!

International green groups has given the World Bank’s recent announcement of a $4.2bn clean energy investment in India a very coal-d reception.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will finance in the building of a total 4,000 megawatt coal-fired power plant in the Mundra region, with the first 800 mega-watt unit to start in mid-2011. IFC says the facility will use supercritical technology making the plant’s carbon emissions 40% less compared to existing coal-fired power plants in India.

The plant is still expected to emit 23m tons/year of carbon dioxide, hence, the protests coming from green groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund, Friends of the Earth US, National Wildlife Federation, Bretton Woods Project and the International Accountability Project.

In this Reuters article, the green groups argued that the cost advantages of coal have already diminished because of coal’s rising prices. India also has to import coal adding to its unsustainability as a domestic energy source.

Coal is actually at the top of green group Sierra Club’s worst fossil fuel, according to a report from Oil and Gas Investor magazine. Carl Pope, Sierra Club’s executive director, said they are more in favor of natural gas among fossil fuels although the group still favors solar and wind energy than fossil fuels.

“The more carbon there is in a fuel—and there’s a lot carbon in coal—the more possible pollution consequences you have to deal with.” – Sierra Club

Even the US federal government is said to have suspended its loan programs this year and even maybe next year for any coal-fired power plants investment in rural communities because of their uncertain role in climate change as well as the rising material and labor costs for new coal plants, according to this St. Louis Post.

US coal price is said to have doubled in the past year to more than $80/ton because of surging US export demand, according to major coal producer Arch Coal as reported by Reuters. Prices are expected to go higher this year when US utilities rebuild their stockpiles, Arch Coal CEO Steven Leer.

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