Nebraska enjoys advantages of cheap coal power

Monday, March 8, 2010

We're all in favor of new alternative energy when it comes to generating electricity, but a new government report shows that Nebraska can thank one of the oldest sources for the cheap price we pay for power in this state.

Nebraska ratepayers, who depend mostly on coal-powered plants like Gerald Gentleman Station near Sutherland, pay an average of 6.58 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity.

That means it costs 6.58 cents to run a 1,000-watt space heater for an hour in Nebraska.

That same heat costs the average American nearly a dime, 9.74 cents. You would pay 7.14 cents in South Dakota, 6.69 cents in North Dakota and 6.84 cents in Kansas. You'd pay 29.2 cents in Hawaii, although we doubt you'd need to use an electric heater that often.

Coal's impact becomes apparent in the fact that Wyoming, where Nebraska gets its coal, and West Virginia, which also has big coal deposits, have the cheapest power, at 5.67 and 5.61 cents per kilowatt hour, respectively.

Some environmentalists say there's no such thing as "clean coal," but major strides have been made in technologies to reduce pollution from coal-fired power plants over recent years.

Yes, alternative energy needs to be pursued, and it's good to see that a wind project is being planned in our area. And, President Obama's embrace of nuclear power as a "clean" source of energy is a positive sign.

But the continued availability of cheap, reliable power from coal is an important tool in the effort to revive and expand Nebraska's economy.

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  • The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) believes that coal is a central element in providing low-cost, reliable and domestically-produced energy to fuel a growing American economy and improved quality of life. Energy costs are a major factor in determining the viability of a business in a given location. Thus, access to low-cost energy means stronger businesses and more jobs for states like Nebraska. For working families, lower energy costs mean more money to make ends meet in challenging economic times.

    Cullen West

    Midwest Communications Director -- ACCCE

    Lincoln, Neb.

    -- Posted by ACCCE on Tue, Mar 9, 2010, at 3:51 PM
  • We should pursue every avenue to find sources of cheap reliable power. Wind is great but it dosen't always blow, even here there is that one day a year. Solar is great but we have cloudy days. Nuclear is another avenue we should be pursuing and we should be drilling for oil and Natural gas as well.

    -- Posted by Chaco1 on Wed, Mar 10, 2010, at 9:18 PM
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