Coal-fired power plants play an important role in providing energy at low prices. The reality is that coal is abundant, efficient, and less expensive than most other energy options and will remain an important part of our energy future.
Coal accounts for about 50 per cent of electricity production in the US, and, as shown in Fig. 1, it remains the lowest cost energy source for US residences.
However, coal-fired plants do emit carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas (GHG) into the atmosphere, and efforts are underway to improve coal's environmental performance so we can take full advantage of this plentiful resource.
'Clean coal technology' describes a new generation of energy processes, some currently available and others being developed, which have the ability to sharply reduce air emissions and other pollutants. These new technological breakthroughs make it possible for new and older coal-burning power plants to produce power in an economical and environmentally responsible manner.