Committing Economic Suicide

A column by Mike Myer, executive editor of The Intelligencer Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING, W.Va. — We Americans often are accused of not keeping up with more “progressive” folks in slashing our use of coal. We’re supposed to feel inferior, somehow, because we haven’t stopped using the most economical means of generating electricity.

Don’t believe it. A few weeks ago, I was among a group of newspaper people listening to an energy policy analyst. She asked us if we knew what country imports the most U.S. coal.

China, you think?

Wrong. It’s Germany. Yes, Germany, home to one of the most militant “green” movements in Europe.

While we Americans are shutting down coal-fired power plants right and left, the Germans are building new ones. Twenty-four are under construction right now, the analyst told us.

In fact, Germany is increasing the percentage of its electricity generated at coal-fired power plants. In 2012 the number was 44 percent. Last year it wa 45.5 percent.

Numbers ringing a bell in your head? They should: Germany now gets more electricity from coal than we do (at about 43 percent)…

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Among the most populous countries, coal is by far the most-favored fuel for electricity generation.

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