Why do we have so many coal-fired power plants?
According to the newsletter sent out by the power company, it was by government edict:
Title II of the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use Act of 1978 (FUA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.), provides that no new baseload electric powerplant may be constructed or operated without the capability to use coal or another alternate fuel as a primary energy source. In order to meet the requirement of coal capability, the owner or operator of such facilities proposing to use natural gas or petroleum as its primary energy source shall certify, pursuant to FUA section 201(d), and Section 501.60(a)(2) of DOE's regulations to the Secretary of Energy prior to construction, or prior to operation as a base load powerplant, that such powerplant has the capability to use coal or another alternate fuel.
Such certification establishes compliance with section 201(a) as of the date filed with the Department of Energy. The Secretary is required to publish a notice in the Federal Register that a certification has been filed.
Copies of self-certification filings are available for public inspection, upon request, in:
The Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue, S.W., Room 6H-034, OE-20
I heard it had something to do with the US Department of Energy fearing we would 'run out' of natural gas, and yet now it is considered the 'fuel of the future'. Amazing how things change.
At least the law was repealed (during the Reagan administration).