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Monsters and Industry divided on energy from coal

ST. LOUIS, MO, United States (UPI) — U.S. energy industry leaders are divided on the best way to produce energy from coal — with some providers showing reluctance to adopt cleaner technology.

U.S. coal reserves could last at least 200 years at the current rate of energy consumption, but coal is largely responsible for increases in global warming, The New York Times reported.

A 500-megawatt coal-fired electricity plant that generates enough power for 500,000 homes annually produces roughly the same emissions as 750,000 cars, Royal Dutch Shell estimates.

Michael G. Morris, head of American Electric Power — the nation`s largest coal consumer — plans to build two new 600-megawatt plants with cleaner technology. Morris says the plants will be less expensive to retrofit with equipment needed to take carbon dioxide underground.

‘The politics around climate issues are very real,’ said Morris. ‘That`s why we need to move on this now.’

Gregory H. Boyce, chief executive of Peabody Energy in Wyoming — the largest private sector coal producer in the world — remains unconvinced of the technology and the costs, the newspaper said.

Only a dozen of the 140 new coal-fired power plants are expected to use the new technology, the Times reported.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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