Coal has long been considered ‘cheap electricity’…nothing could really compete with it, cost-wise. While that still may be the case, we’re really, really close to the point of ‘peak coal’, where supply cannot meet demand. More specifically though, it’s a problem of ‘cheap’ supply. There’s still a lot of coal out there, but it’s far away from the population centers that need it. It’s gotten bad enough that the idea of shipping coal from the US to China is even being taken seriously. That transportation cost adds to the cost of the coal, so much so that in some places, like India, investments strategies are shifting from coal to wind and solar energy projects. Transportation costs, fueled by oil, will only rise as we near Peak Oil as well. The US will have no choice but to follow this shift away from coal, the question is, though I fear that shift will happen too late to prevent significant global warming.
Read more over at Bloomberg.com if you’re interested.