“Policies that force use of more expensive, less reliable energy push costs throughout the economy and place the heaviest burden on the world’s poor and low-income citizens. We need all forms of energy to address global needs, and we must recognize the strengths and limitations of each choice. Advanced coal is the sustainable fuel at scale that can meet these needs.”
– Gregory Boyce, CEO, Peabody Energy, April 3, 2014.
Peabody Energy–“the world’s largest private-sector coal company and a global leader in sustainable mining and clean coal solutions … in more than 25 countries on six continents”—has started a good conversation. Lifting countless millions out of energy poverty into energy modernism is worth our best thinking and debate.
Peabody’s call to reduce energy inequality between the haves and have nots challenges the “Let them eat cake” conceit of so many energy statists/elitists. “Let them have solar panels” is an insult given the cost and intermittency of solar compared to what central-station fossil-fuel power plants can deliver.
Solar might be a starter energy, a bridge fuel. But real power plants are the destination.
There are far too many people who do not have access to electricity. They need to upgrade economically and environmentally to coal-fired central-station power. And that power is super-clean compared to the uncontrolled coal plants of several decades ago.
The energy statists/elitists do not like Peabody’s conversation. “As for Boyce’s concern for the world’s poor, hey, with friends like these, who needs enemies?” wrote Tina Casey writer at CleanTechnica. She complains that climate-change (carbon dioxide) emissions are not part of Peabody’s position (hey—CO2 has benefits, and wood burning in the home is worse than coal by any environmental metric.)
Here is Peabody’s press release, titled Peabody Energy Chairman & CEO Greg Boyce Calls On Leaders To Solve Energy Inequality During Wall Street Journal ECO:nomics Interview:
ST. LOUIS, April 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gregory H. Boyce today called on business and energy leaders to solve energy inequality by creating a level of energy access that enables all people everywhere to have the same high standard of living enjoyed in the developed world.
“Energy inequality is the blight of energy poverty, limiting access to basic needs like food, water and medicine; stunting education and cutting lives short,” said Boyce. “Every one of the U.N. Millennium Development goals depends on adequate energy, yet today one out of every two citizens lacks adequate energy and over 4 million lives are lost yearly due to the impacts of this scourge.”
Boyce commented on what he calls the world’s number one human and environmental crisis during a wide-ranging interview with Wall Street Journal Assistant Managing Editor and Executive Business Editor John Bussey. Top CEOs, policymakers and global leaders were part of the audience at the 2014 ECO:nomics conference in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Consider these statistics:
- Globally 3.5 billion people lack proper energy access, and 1.2 billion are children.
- About half the children in the developing world attend schools without electricity.
- Some 1 billion people receive substandard healthcare because of a lack of electricity.
- The global population is expanding by more than 200,000 people each day, and by 2050, the world’s population is forecast to exceed 9.6 billion, with over two-thirds living in cities.
Boyce said energy inequality is an issue for both developing and developed nations. “More energy is needed to create energy access for billions, to sustain growth for a new global middle class and improve access to low-cost electricity. Too many families in developed nations face the tough choice of paying for food or energy,” he said.
“The greatest environmental crisis we confront today is not a crisis predicted by computer models but a human crisis fully within our power to solve,” Boyce said.
Boyce called for driving policies and actions that increase access to reliable, low-cost power using today’s advanced coal technologies that extends lives, builds economies and improves natural and indoor environments.
Coal has the scale to meet these needs, and today’s high-efficiency supercritical coal plants have state-of-the-art controls and ultra-low emission rates. Every large, advanced coal plant brings the equivalent carbon benefit of removing 1 million cars from the road.
“Policies that force use of more expensive, less reliable energy push costs throughout the economy and place the heaviest burden on the world’s poor and low-income citizens. We need all forms of energy to address global needs, and we must recognize the strengths and limitations of each choice. Advanced coal is the sustainable fuel at scale that can meet these needs,” Boyce said.
Coal has been the fastest-growing major fuel the past decade and is set to surpass oil as the world’s largest fuel in coming years. Coal’s market share for U.S. electricity generation has increased by one-third in the past two years, and now has twice the market share of natural gas.
Peabody Energy is the world’s largest private-sector coal company and a global leader in sustainable mining and clean coal solutions. Peabody’s Advanced Energy for Life campaign seeks to raise awareness and support to end global energy poverty, increase access to low-cost electricity and improve emissions using today’s advanced clean coal technologies.