Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Another Report on the Costs of Coal Power

A new report from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation provides another example of how coal power comes with costs that don't show up on customers' utility bills. The Williamsburg Yorktown Daily has the story:
The Old Dominion Electric Cooperative plans to build a $20 million, 1,500-megawatt power plant in the town of Dendron, which ODEC [Old Dominion Electric Cooperative] argues will bring jobs and much-needed revenue to the area. Monday’s CBF report, "A Coal Plant’s Drain on Health and Wealth," uses data supplied by ODEC to the US Environment Protection Agency on pollution generated by the plant’s 650-foot smokestacks. The report estimates that health-related costs generated by the plant could top $200 million each year.
The report, "A Coal Plant's Drain on Health and Wealth," projects that the new coal power plant would lead to "442 asthma attacks, as well as 3,340 work days lost to sickness, 40 heart attacks, and an estimated 26 premature deaths" annually.
These findings square with a Harvard study, titled “Full cost accounting for the life cycle of coal,” which was recently published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. The authors calculate the externalities (environmental and health costs) of coal power to be $345.3 billion annually
Delmarva Power's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), now before the Public Service Commission, projects the benefits of current plans to shift from coal to renewable energy to be $1.8 billion to $4.3 billion over the next ten years. That's $2,000 to $4,750 for every Delaware resident, and 12 percent to 30 percent of retail electricity sales in Delaware. The PSC has extended public comment period on the IRP to May 31, and will likely hold hearings on the plan afterwards.


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