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Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 18, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Clean coal: Invest instead in solar energy

Earth-moving machines push coal to an intake area, where it is then moved to the units inside the Ameren coal-burning power plant in Meredosia, Ill. (J.B. FORBES / St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2010)

Thanks to The Seattle Times for the article on clean coal [“Promise of a ‘clean coal’ future far from reality,” Local News, Aug. 17]. Once again, though, this article reinforces just how much of a myth clean coal is.

Coal harms the environment and climate from the very start: It produces toxic waste and dust when it’s mined; it sheds harmful coal dust when it’s transported by rail; and when burned it’s one of the dirtiest energy sources that exist.

What a shame, then, for all of the money spent on cleaning up coal power and storing its waste. What if that money had been spent on solar power instead? The biggest drawback to solar power going forward is energy storage (evening out the power supply when the sun is down). If that coal money had been spent instead on energy storage research and development, we could now have an energy source that could satisfy many of our demands, that produces no toxic waste and has no carbon storage costs. We need to change our way of thinking and get the old, invested money away from dirty coal and into clean, renewable energy.

Mike Shaw, Edmonds

Comments | More in Energy | Topics: clean coal, climate change, energy

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