[OPINION] How Trump Could Save Coal With Wood Pellets
– by William Strauss, March 15, 2017, Biomass Magazine
The use of U.S.-produced wood pellet fuel blended with coal in large utility power stations could sustain coal mining jobs, create tens of thousands of new jobs in another sector that is experiencing significant job losses—the forest products sector—and stimulate billions of dollars of new investment in new U.S. manufacturing plants.
By supporting the blending of industrial wood pellet fuel with coal in pulverized coal (PC) power plants, policy will lock in the need for PC power plants, therefore guaranteeing significant demand for coal. This well-proven strategy, which is already in place in many other countries, can provide certainty for the need for U.S.-produced coal for decades, and certainty for U.S. coal mining jobs.
This strategy, which the Trump administration could follow, is a win-win-win for the coal and forest products sectors, and the environment. It offers many advantages, including: use of existing power stations; much lower capital cost than new natural gas plants; reliability and no derating; flexible, baseload or on-demand generation; already demonstrated at scale in many locations; lessening of utilities’ dependency on natural gas; lower carbon emissions; creation and sustaining of jobs; and lower sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury emissions.