Thursday, April 24, 2008

China Facing Coal Crisis (This is Good)

Unfortunately, nobody innovates until there's a crisis. People would sooner die a slow death to save a buck than invest upfront in new technologies for the long haul. For example, China is suffocating itself (and the world) with its reliance on coal instead of driving innovation in a clean, renewable energy source.

Pound360 is run by a bunch of Americans. Is this a case of the teapot calling the kettle black? Of course. But we're just as disappointed that leadership in the US isn't driving a Manhattan project to fast-track the era of clean, renewable energy.

Back to China. According to
a New Scientist article, up to two new coal-fired power plants go online each week in China (the country gets 70 percent of its electricity from coal). This has helped charge the "breakneck" economic growth rate the country has enjoyed the past two decades (about 10 percent per year).

But the system is showing signs of weaknesses. The supply and ability of the transportation infrastructure (namely rail) to deliver coal to all of the nation's power plants is being strained. (Regarding supply, China only started importing coal last year, previously it relied on its own mines.) As of now, "the country has just 12 days of coal reserves at most power stations." The situation may lead to "brownouts and power shortages" in the near future.

This is terrific. Hopefully, stung by a power shortage, China will lead the way in ushering the era of green energy.

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Pound360 Archive

About Me

My photo
I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.