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USA: large-scale reorganization of coal energy
Material posted: Publication date: 05-06-2014

The US will need to reduce the use of coal as fuel. By 2030, carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere should be reduced by 30% from 2005 levels, requires the White house. The share of gas energy will increase, and the coal will be exported to Europe and China, which is good for Russia.

U.S. company with coal, will need a third to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (the count goes from the level of 2005). Such a request was made by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. Stringent conditions were motivated by reasons of ecology.

At coal thermal power plants account for 38% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., the average age of this generation capacity is 42 years old and, according to the Agency for the environment USA (Environmental Protection Agency, EPA), many of these plants are obsolete and not efficient enough.

"It's not just about the extinction of polar bears and the melting of the polar ice caps, but also on the protection of our population and our homes, protect the economy and jobs in the regions", — said the head of the EPA Gina McCarthy.

The Agency has submitted detailed plans whose implementation will begin in 2014. EPA is responsible for regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the "clean air act" and, in fact, equal in authority to the Ministry. In particular, the Agency proposes to establish a market of emissions quotas for greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and to use coal instead of alternative energy sources — nuclear, solar.

But the most viable replacement for coal is natural gas, which after the recent "shale revolution" is enough to fully supply the country's domestic consumption.

EPA claims that the new rules will reduce energy costs by 8% and reduce the load on the power distribution system in the country. Opponents of the proposal maintain that the new measures could lead to the closure of many thermal power plants and higher electricity prices. Against the program are the numerous representatives of business, as well as the coal States, particularly West Virginia.

This is one of the most ambitious programs of the US administration in the sphere of climate protection, writes The New York Times. Norms can result in a complete transformation of the energy sector of the U.S. economy, notes The Guardian. Coal energy the U.S. for the first time will face similar restrictions.

"The U.S. is one of the world's largest coal producers, said the Deputy head of Department of the analysis of share market IK "Veles the Capital" Vasily Tanurkov. More than 90% of the coal consumed in the country and is mainly in the production of electricity".

Contrary to fears, the plan was not so radical, says Reuters. Since the end of 2013 emissions have decreased by 10% compared to 2005, partly due to the transition of some enterprises from coal to gas.

"Thanks to the shale revolution, which led to a significant drop in gas prices, the share of coal power in the United States in total electricity production decreased significantly in recent years, as coal was replaced by gas, says Tanurkov. — As a result, the rate of decline of greenhouse gas emissions the USA has overtaken Europe: between 2005 and 2011 emissions in the US decreased by 12%, while in Europe — only by 8.6%. However, the share of electricity produced from coal, remains high, and the total coal consumption in the U.S. is about 875 million tons per year. Because burning coal is one of the most dirtiest ways of producing energy, reducing emissions remains urgent, and the steps the American government in this direction is welcome. Especially when you consider that the US never ratified the Kyoto Protocol."

Released in the US coal will be exported, say experts "Газеты.Ru".

"The U.S. is a net exporter of coal, and in the case of reducing domestic consumption by switching sector of electricity generation to gas volumes released, most likely, will be exported, — says the analyst UK "alpha-the Capital" Andrew Schenk. — To export coal the United States will be in European countries where due to higher gas prices, the transition from coal generation to gas economically inefficient". In addition, according to the expert, there is the possibility of exporting coal from the U.S. to China.

"China is the largest consumer of coal in the world — reminds the analyst of MC "Alfa-Capital". But the U.S. market would face stronger competition from Australia." In addition, China has already announced his intention also to gradually move to cleaner fuels and to abandon coal.

Europe, on the contrary, in the summer of 2014 will be to discuss coal as a substitute for gas — to reduce energy dependence on Russia.

Such a proposal acts, in particular, the Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk. "We should strive to ensure that the planet was less polluted, but we must have safe access to energy resources and means of funding it," said Tusk. Schenk doubts that the growth of American coal exports will put significant pressure on its price.

"The effect of the transition in the US gas is already incorporated in the price of coal, and the cost of gas in Europe and Asia this transition would have no effect. Now a much larger influence on the prices renders the slowdown in industrial production in China," he explains.

Tanurkov doubt that in the U.S. on a significant scale reduction of coal generation, given the lobbying power of the latter.

"Reducing emissions is possible due to the transfer of electricity production on gas, but it is only one of the measures. Coal mining — too large a sector of the economy, and coal is still very cheap fuel to the United States had to abandon it. Most likely, it will go about implementing more environmentally friendly methods of burning coal", — says the expert "Veles-the Capital".

The growth of gas consumption in the U.S. Tanurkov believes is favorable for Russia. "The more gas will be consumed in the U.S., the less it will be for export, and hence, the smaller the competition the U.S. will be able to reach Russia in the gas market," he says.

"In Russia there is no need to switch from coal to natural gas at the level of electricity generation, given that domestic coal prices close to export and are at the lowest levels in the last five years, while export prices exceed domestic gas and cheaper gas to supply the export market," says Schenk.


Tags: USA , resources , coal

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