I've always been for renewable power and remain so. The windmills on the hills of Southern California, the solar power plant as you go by Barstow, all that stuff, I remember all that. Those were Carter-era projects and, I believe, necessary future-looking projects.
Therefore, it might surprise you all that, actually, more coal-fired power plants would actually be a good thing for this planet over at least the next 50 or more years! Yeah, I know, sounds crazy, don't it?! :-)
Electric vehicles are here now, and they're pretty darn popular. Teslas, Rivians, and others from other car companies--especially Teslas, since they've been around the longest--are all over the place in not just California, but Virginia as well. California government officials are already on record as admitting that the state's electrical grid cannot handle all the electric cars. There' just ain't enough juice, unfortunately. I'd imagine the same is true in other heavily-populated areas.
One of my research projects for my Chemistry major was acid rain and air pollution. It was an expansion on something I'd started in high school. Internal combustion engines have gotten more efficient over the years, no question. They also pale in comparison to large-scale power generation done by, say, the huge gas turbines found in power plants. There's just no comparison. Modern power-plant gas turbines actually approach the ideal Carnot cycle. That's really good, folks.
Another thing I learned about is the Fischer-Tropes process for coal gasification. This process naturally eliminates a lot of the pollutants in coal, especially sulfur, while turning it into essentially 100% sulfur-free Diesel fuel. Bye-bye, sulfuric acid rain. Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) advoated for this during his governorship, and it turns out he's right. I would expect that of someone with his level of science education. This is the basis for "clean coal" power production. There's a bit more to it than just the Fischer-Tropes process, of course--F-T is just one part, though a major one--and the clean coal procedures would generate lots and lots of power, with minimal emissions. Yes, it does work.
Now, remember that the United States is the Saudi Arabia of coal. By setting up several of these clean-coal power plants, we could power yet more electric vehicles to replace the gasoline cars on the road today. Due to the huge gains in power generation efficiency, and reduced emissions, of the power plants over car engines, we'd have an enormous reduction in emissions, far lower usage of fossil fuels, and most importantly, the actual ability to power all these electric vehicles that we want to see on the roads. It's a net win all around.
"Oh, but there'll still be greenhouse gases!" Yeah, there will be. Remember about what California officials admitted about "green" power not being able to power the grid? Remember that? There's the problem. We've got to overcome that problem. People still need to get to work and back and do other things that we do in life. That means cars, folks. People are not going to give up their gasoline cars unless they can actually power these new electrics.
And then there are the Diesel semi-tractor-trailers. Yep, the Big Rigs. Virtually all of them are Diesel powered. Those truckers aren't swapping out their Diesels for electrics if they cannot quickly charge their trucks. You won't have food in your grocery store. You won't have clothes at Jacques Pennyey or Tar-Zhey or Wally World or wherever else you shop.
That's why we need clean coal power plants at this point. California wants their Teslas? They gotta have power. Ain't gonna happen with solar, wind, etc. Not with today's technology, and I don't realistically see power generation of that type being able to put out that much more power than it already does, certainly not by 2035 (California's new "no more petro-powered vehicles sold in our state" law). It just ain't gonna happen.
Therefore, clean coal will bridge that gap while we're continuing to do work on how to generate that power in a yet-greener fashion. And we do need to do that research. We also need to keep things running until then.
Or do you really want more nuclear fission power plants? 'Cause that's the alternative. Personally, I'd rather have a little extra CO(2), which plants (including algae) can eat, than Strontium-90.
"San Francisco Liberal With A Gun"
A true Liberal must
back the Second Amendment 100%!