The Motley Fool recently released an article on the War on Coal and why it’s not a dying commodity.
1) It’s Big. The graph above shows the distribution of power sources for 2013, according to Electricity Power Monthly. With 39% of the market share, which is almost equal to the market share of natural gas and nuclear combined, there isn’t an industry that could pick up the capacity gap left by coal.
2) Fast, but not fast enough. Those claiming that hydro, solar, and wind power sources can pick up the slack left by coal need only to look at the two charts above to see that that is a far off solution. At this point in time the hydro, wind, biomass wood, biomass waster, geothermal, and solar energy industries would collectively have to more than triple their capacity just to meet coal’s current energy production levels. Even by 2040 this doesn’t look like a completely viable alternative.
3) Capacity Contraints. Organizations like Southern Company rely on the ability to switch between multiple energy sources, like coal, natural gas and nuclear, in order to provide the most competitive pricing for their customers. Relying heavily on hydro, solar, and wind power requires energy companies to take a gamble on mother nature. Strategic placement of facilities only amounts to so much in the face of weather events like droughts, storms, and cloudy days.
For more informations on the War on Coal, check out Motley Fool’s article here.