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Coal as an Energy Resource/Summary of Forum

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journal contribution
posted on 01.03.2012, 00:00 by Lester B. Lave

I have good news and bad news. First of all, the good news. There is lots and lots of coal. Depending on which estimates one believes, there are between 10 and 30 quintillion Btu of coal reserves. That is enough coal to last a long time even if coal were our only energy resource. Furthermore, the cost of coal is relatively inexpensive. It is the lowest cost resource available to us today, about $0.75 per million Btu compared, for example, with about $2.25 per million Btu for OPEC oil. It is cheap, and it is likely to stay cheap in the future because much of the coal could be strip-mined. That is the good news. The bad news is that sometime we might have to use that coal. This bad news can be appreciated only after a general overview, so I will begin with that




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