By John Stark
The General Accounting Office has issued a report saying that while significant changes are ahead for U.S. coal-fired electricity generation, coal will remain a major source of electricity in the decades ahead — unless there is a major government crackdown on greenhouse gas emissions.
Read the report here. Or at least, read the one-page summary of the 54-page report, conveniently placed at the beginning.
“According to stakeholders and three long-term forecasts GAO reviewed, coal is generally expected to remain a key fuel source for U.S. electricity generation in the future, but coal’s share as a source of electricity may continue to decline. For example, in its forecast based on current policies, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that the amount of electricity generated using coal is expected to remain relatively constant through 2035, but it forecasts that the share of coal-fueled electricity generation will decline from 42 percent in 2011 to 38 percent in 2035.”
“EIA forecasts that two hypothetical future policies that reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector by 46 percent and 76 percent would result in coal’s share of U.S. electricity generation falling to 16 and 4 percent in 2035, respectively.”
GAO did the report at the request of Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, chairman of the Senate committee on commerce, science and transportation.