Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Coal and its greater possibilites

Coal is the much maligned fuel that produces over 50% of the United States total power and over 95% of Indiana's power.  It is maligned for its environmental issues whether from burning the coal for power or for the way it is mined.  Unfortunately, many of the voices being heard in this issue are making a purely ideological statement that sometimes blurs the facts.  Regardless of how you fall on these issues, the truth is coal is not going anywhere as a long term reliable source of power in the world. 

One thing quickly forgotten by some is the advancements made in both mining and the use of coal in recent years.  Coal's use for making energy  has become much more environmentally acceptable and keeping within the bounds set up by clean water and clean air policies. One figure I hear quoted is that we use 30% more coal today than 30 years ago, however, our air quality is over 30% better than it was 30 years ago.

Changes in the way coal is used such as gasification  or by changing the level of oxygen in the burn cycle has and will continue to help coal users remove impurities and to insure a quality energy maker with less risk.  Scrubbing, gasification, and burning efficiencies are expensive but we have few better solutions at the moment.  The other base load alternatives to coal like natural gas and nuclear offer good prospects but continued policies against growth in these areas keep new production at a standstill.  Renewable power has and will continue to increase in use but it won't currently and will not for a long time remove our total need for coal, nuclear, and natural gas produced power.  Bottom line is no matter what side of this debate you are on, simply using renewable energy and even aggressive energy efficiency measures will not take away the need for traditional fuel sources.  So, if one can't live without them one should live with them in better conditions.

Please take the time to find out more about alternative ways to use coal for power that promote more efficient and cleaner uses of coal.  For reference I have attached the USDOE Fossil Energy Office site.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Greetings from the OED.  I am excited to begin this ENERGY FILE blog and talk about issues and ideas in energy as they matter to Indiana and you.   This blog will not be partisan nor will it take any direct policy stances.  It will not shy away from putting policy into perspective and letting you, the reader, work it out.  I also hope to lead readers to books, publications, or websites that may be helpful in expanding knowledge about energy issues.

It is not uncommon for me to speak to groups and figure out the for the most part energy is taken for granted.  People turn on their lights, start their cars, and heat their homes and expect that every time they do so they will get the prefect result of light, power, and heat.  That process works well in America and we are luckier than many other countries.  That process requires many tons of fuels, many people, and lots of capital to make energy do what we want it to do. 

What looms even larger is that our economy hums on energy.  In rough estimation the US is said to use 25% of the world’s total energy, but we make 33% of the goods the world uses.  That shows that we are fairly efficient in making things with our energy, but more than anything, we use a lot of energy.

That is the beginning to this blog-- the set up if you will.  Energy is necessary, energy is very important to the US.  Almost equal to healthcare and education, energy policy ideas and concepts fuel loud national debates.  So, I am looking forward to bringing to you the ideas, concerns, and the issues that are so important to the energy future of Indiana and our nation.

My best to you,
Brandon Seitz