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THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 21 Apr 2017, 14:19:37

So a coal fired plant that will produce 895 MW for $2.2 billion. And the largest wind farm in Texas produces 780 MW and cost $1 billion. I'm pretty sure that some of the wind that blows across Texas passes thru Kansas first.

From wiki: "The Roscoe Wind Farm in Roscoe, Texas, is one of the world's largest capacity wind farms with 634 wind turbines and a total installed capacity of 781.5 MW. At the time of its completion in 2009, it was the largest wind farm in the world."

Might cost more then $1 billion to build today. OTOH turbine efficiency has improved significantly in the last 8 years. BTW Sunflower Electric Power Corp. is a utility coop owned by its consumer members. IOW the Kansas consumers are footing the $2.2 billion price tag...plus the cost of future coal purchases. And the Roscoe Wind Farm was paid for by a private company, E.ON SE, a European holding company based in Germany. It runs one of the world's largest investor-owned electric utility service providers.

Seems like folks in Texas and Kansas have a very different view of the future with respect to electricity generation.
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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 21 Apr 2017, 15:00:18

ROCKMAN wrote:So a coal fired plant that will produce 895 MW for $2.2 billion. And the largest wind farm in Texas produces 780 MW and cost $1 billion. I'm pretty sure that some of the wind that blows across Texas passes thru Kansas first.

From wiki: "The Roscoe Wind Farm in Roscoe, Texas, is one of the world's largest capacity wind farms with 634 wind turbines and a total installed capacity of 781.5 MW. At the time of its completion in 2009, it was the largest wind farm in the world."

Might cost more then $1 billion to build today. OTOH turbine efficiency has improved significantly in the last 8 years. BTW Sunflower Electric Power Corp. is a utility coop owned by its consumer members. IOW the Kansas consumers are footing the $2.2 billion price tag...plus the cost of future coal purchases. And the Roscoe Wind Farm was paid for by a private company, E.ON SE, a European holding company based in Germany. It runs one of the world's largest investor-owned electric utility service providers.

Seems like folks in Texas and Kansas have a very different view of the future with respect to electricity generation.


Unless Texas is a whole different reality you need to divide that wind nameplate capacity by 6 to get the real figure. This is one of those games the 'renewable' folks just love to play, the nameplate capacity of Solar PV is the rating at noon on a clear summer day. Of course at midnight that same clear day the Solar PV is producing zero. For Wind the nameplate capacity is if the wind is sustained at the most efficient speed for that particular turbine. A few miles faster or slower and the calculation is way off, and if the wind is too high or too low the effective reading is zero. Wind also generally peaks within two hours of sunrise and sunset and peak electric demand is between 2 PM and 6 PM local time.

I do not like coal, I think it is about the worst choice for energy production there is except for biomass or doing without. But if you are going to compare wind to coal you have to use real numbers, not sales pitch nameplate capacity.

How much energy do wind turbines produce?

Every wind turbine has a range of wind speeds, typically around 30 to 55 mph, in which it will produce at its rated, or maximum, capacity. At slower wind speeds, the production falls off dramatically. If the wind speed decreases by half, power production decreases by a factor of eight. On average, therefore, wind turbines do not generate near their capacity. Industry estimates project an annual output of 30-40%, but real-world experience shows that annual outputs of 15-30% of capacity are more typical.


https://www.wind-watch.org/faq-output.php

You also need to factor in the maintenance costs because 10,000 windmills need a heck of a lot more workers to stay operational than a 3 GWe powerplant needs. They also need tons of rare earth metal magnets and so on and so forth. Is wind better than coal? In theory absolutely. In practice? That picture is a heck of a lot murkier.
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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 21 Apr 2017, 16:21:40

T - You miss the point I continue to bang out there: Texas wind power was never planned as a replacement for fossil fuel fired plants in Texas but as a supplement. Which is why we didn't have to wait on commercial storage technology: we have lignite/NG resources as a backup.

As far as your "wind speeds, typically around 30 to 55 mph" the Roscoe Farm nameplate is based on 17 mph. As far as dividing by 6 this report on Scientific American shows Texas was doing much better then that in 2014:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/pl ... gy-record/

BTW 7.6% of Sunflower’s generation portfolio is wind. Sunflower does not own or operate wind farms; however, it buys wind energy through a Power Purchase Agreement from Smoky Hills Wind Farm, located in Lincoln and Ellsworth counties.

So they already use coal as backup for their wind power. Wind power they pay for at cost + profit to a private company. And yes: wind turbines require maintenance...and so do coal/NG powered plants.

And that new coal fired plant does something those wind turbines don't: use a LARGE AMOUNT of water. Water resources that new plant will compete for with Kansas farmers: Power generation has been estimated to be second only to agriculture in being the largest domestic user of water. To produce and burn the 1 billion tons of coal America uses each year, the mining and utility industries withdraw 55 trillion to 75 trillion gallons of water annually, according to the US Geological Survey.

We can toss numbers around all day but it will not change a very relevant fact: there never has been a single wind farm built in Texas to "save the environment". We LOVE lignite in Texas. Mostly because it's cheap and we have a 100+ year supply. LOL. Each wind farm was built with a single motive in mind: profit. And every group of electricity consumers in the state that provided at least a portion of the cost for wind power development did so for long term economic reasons. And not to aid in any effort to reduce the generation of GHG as witnessed by the fact we still burn a lot of fossil fuels and make NO APOLOGIES for it. LOL.

If building that new coal fired plant makes better financial sense then adding to the state's wind capacity...so be it. But so far in Texas wind makes better ECONOMIC sense for us...despite the fact we have a huge and relatively inexpensive fossil fuel resource.

Maybe Texans know something those Kansas red legs don't. LOL. BTW Texas consumes almost 10X as much electricity as Kansas. Texas wind power actually produces (not just nameplate capacity) about half the total electricity consumption of Kansas.

As they say in Texas: It ain't braggin' if it's true. LOL.
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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby Zarquon » Fri 21 Apr 2017, 19:29:54

According to EON, the load factor for the different Roscoe turbine types was between 28% and 32% in 2016. Which is OK for wind power, although offshore installations can do a lot better.

http://www.eon.com/content/dam/eon-com/ ... s_2017.pdf
(see p.76, Projects Roscoe, Champion, Pyron, Inadale)

Also, the average load factor (capacity factor) for coal plants is only about twice as high.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacity_ ... 1-2013.png
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First coal-free day in Britain since Industrial Revolution

Unread postby dolanbaker » Sat 22 Apr 2017, 03:30:19

A bit of an exaggeration as people still use coal for home heating, but still a milestone.
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-39675418
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Britain went a full day without using coal to generate electricity for the first time since the Industrial Revolution, the National Grid says.

The energy provider said Friday's lack of coal usage was a "watershed" moment.

Britain's longest continuous energy period without coal until now was 19 hours - first achieved last May, and again on Thursday.

The government plans to phase out Britain's last plants by 2025 in order to cut carbon emissions.

Friday is thought to be the first time the nation has not used coal to generate electricity since the world's first centralised public coal-fired generator opened in 1882, at Holborn Viaduct in London.

Cordi O'Hara of the National Grid said: "To have the first working day without coal since the start of the industrial revolution is a watershed moment in how our energy system is changing.
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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sat 22 Apr 2017, 04:23:52

Zarquon wrote:According to EON, the load factor for the different Roscoe turbine types was between 28% and 32% in 2016. Which is OK for wind power, although offshore installations can do a lot better.

http://www.eon.com/content/dam/eon-com/ ... s_2017.pdf
(see p.76, Projects Roscoe, Champion, Pyron, Inadale)

Also, the average load factor (capacity factor) for coal plants is only about twice as high.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacity_ ... 1-2013.png

But that is because coal plants are being throttled back whenever renewables are producing power. Coal has the advantage of being available when needed while the wind and sun are managed by Mother Nature and don't always cooperate. :)
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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sat 22 Apr 2017, 11:21:23

"But that is because coal plants are being throttled back whenever renewables are producing power. Coal has the advantage of being available when needed...".

Exactly as it's been happening in Texas with periods when our electricity generation from coal drops from 35%+ to 15%. And for two reasons: longer term from low NG prices and short term periods when wind power supplies up to 40% of our huge demand.

And now that prices have declined solar is beginning to kick off in very sunny Texas: "The addition of solar is also starting to have an impact. Texas is seeing some of the cheapest utility-scale solar prices in the U.S. Although there is less than 1 gigawatt of solar in Texas today, capacity is expected to quadruple by 2020, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Texas grid operator ERCOT has outlined a scenario where solar could make up as much as 17 percent of capacity by 2030, largely replacing retired coal." Reducing/eliminating coal burning...not the eliminating the plants. And other plus often missed: a big reduction in water demand...not an insignificant factor for the big agricultural business in Texas.

Wind and solar will have a big financial advantage over both coal and NG. EXISTING w/s infrastructure: once built those costs are "sunk" and don't impact the go forward economics which are close enough to zero to be meaningless. IOW from the daily ops cost coal/NG will always lose against our EXISTING alts.

But we'll maintain the fossil fuel burners to handle the intermittency problem. A critical aspect that eliminated the wait for economic commercial storage to be develop. But thanks to our ff backup commercial scale electricity storage may have a bigger hurdle to leap in Texas then other states.

But there's more to the story about the Brits shutting down the coal burners. From

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpre ... d-in-2025/

"New UK government projections of capacity and supply suggest that interconnection and electricity imports must grow by over 300% by 2025 if demand is to be met. While imports are not in themselves to be feared, it is worrying that government appears to be using assumptions about interconnection as a free parameter to paper over deficiencies in what is now in effect a centrally planned electricity system.

The GB system currently has about 5.7 GW of interconnectors, and in 2016 net imports of electricity over these lines amounted to about 18 TWh, mostly from France, and the Netherlands, though with traces from Eire and Northern Ireland. This is approximately 6.5% of demand on the GB system.

Data published last week by the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of the latest iteration of its Updated Energy Emissions Projections shows that interconnection must rise to 20 GW as soon as 2024, and net imports must rise to 77 TWh in the following year, 24% of requirements, if expected demand for electricity is to be met."

So by not burning coal the UK will import a lot of electricity from:

The Netherlands: Production of electric power in 2000 totaled 88 billion kWh, of which thermal power plants using oil and coal as fuel supplied 90.3%, nuclear power plants 4.2%, and other sources 5.4%, and hydropower less than 1%.

And France: Fortunately 75% of its electricity comes from "green" nuclear. But that appears to be changing soon: "In fulfillment of a campaign promise, President François Hollande’s government is aiming to pass legislation in July that will cement a nuclear energy drawdown, bringing nuclear’s share of generation down from 75% to 50%by 2025. The move is a drastic shift for one of France’s iconic industries."

Also: "France is the world's largest net exporter of electricity due to its very low cost of generation, and gains over €3 billion per year from this."

Which raises a couple of important issues. How much electricity will France export in the future if it cuts back nukes that much? Fossil fuels currently provide very little electricity today and the French are pushing for more alt energy development. But will that happen fast enough to make up the loss of nuke power? And equally import at what price for those "green" energy exports?

And then there's an even bigger question regarding all British electricity imports from Europe: how will Brexit affect the electricity import dynamic? Not only in availability but also price: without the old trade policies the Brits may have to deal with a very strong electricity sellers market.
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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby kublikhan » Sat 22 Apr 2017, 22:13:30

ROCKMAN wrote:"But that is because coal plants are being throttled back whenever renewables are producing power. Coal has the advantage of being available when needed...".

Exactly as it's been happening in Texas with periods when our electricity generation from coal drops from 35%+ to 15%. And for two reasons: longer term from low NG prices and short term periods when wind power supplies up to 40% of our huge demand.
I don't think coal's situation is quite that rosy. The majority of coal power plants perform rather poorly as load following plants. IE, they can't be shut down or started up quickly or economically. That is why we are seeing negative power rates in Texas & California at certain times of the day. Having large amounts of unused coal capacity sitting around is not what Texas really needs to deal with the variable renewable supply. Natural gas is a better fit for that role. Economical commercial scale storage would be even better.

And although coal plants have some ability to ramp, the majority of this responsibility falls on the shoulders of the gas-fired fleet.
Solar and Wind Power Generation: The Challenge for Grid Operators and Generators

In the spring and fall, the wind blows so hard at night that wind turbines supply all of the power that Texas needs in the wee hours of the morning. More surprising is that all of that wind means the price of electric power is not just free, but generators have to pay the grid operator to take their electricity. Coal and nuclear plants can't shut down and restart quickly, which means they have to keep spinning even when prices go negative. "Negative prices usually result when generators with high shut-down or restart costs must compete with other generators."

It's easy to blame the negative pricing on wind and solar during the periods when they are most productive, but the truth is that the prices wouldn't go negative if coal and nuclear power plants could shut down at night. Their inability to switch on and off quickly is what creates the surplus on the grid. "The grid of the future will be flexible and composed of resources that can ramp up or down and still economically operate. Large base-load plants where you simply can't shut them down quickly and can't bring them online quickly, and that aren't price competitive with natural gas and renewables, are destined to fail."
Going negative on energy pricing

A phenomenon in wholesale power markets that forces prices below zero when renewable energy supplies surge is occurring more than ever in markets from California to Texas. Even the Midwest and Northeast aren’t immune.

It’s expensive for nuclear plants and coal- and natural gas-fired units to turn on and off. So when output from wind and solar farms jumps and supply exceeds demand, prices have to fall below zero to force some generators offline. The growing frequency of these price plunges are a testament to how renewable power is reshaping U.S. power markets and squeezing the profits of traditional power generators.

With more renewable power on the way in Texas, generators have been asking policy makers for incentives to keep conventional plants running. “It’s a challenging environment for generators.”
One Thing California, Texas Have in Common Is Negative Power

Something has got to give when it comes to how Texas generates, transmits and sells electricity. NRG's coal and nuclear plants can't be easily stopped and restarted, so they run almost nonstop. It will bid very low prices to make sure it sells all it produces, even if it sometimes loses money.

Texas' wholesale market has contributed to some of the lowest electricity bills in the world, but it is also killing electric company profits, offering no incentive to invest in new power plants. "When you need that dispatchable generation to make up for when the wind is not blowing, you need to compensate for that."
Where will your power come from? Big decisions ahead for Texas
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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 25 Apr 2017, 17:29:46

Clearly I am not the only one who recognized that the 'coal free' UK; wasn't.

A coal-free publicity stunt?
News that Britain enjoyed its first coal free day since the start of the industrial revolution was broadly welcomed last week. But check behind the headlines and it is not clear that the UK really was coal-free after all.

Most obviously, industrial users including the UK’s steelworks were still burning coal, so the headlines were really only referring to electricity generation. And even here, some questions have been raised about the accuracy of the story. First, it turns out that 8.3 percent of the UK’s electricity on the coal-free day was imported from states that use coal in their energy mix – National Grid has confirmed the countries (France, Netherlands and Eire) but not the fuels. Second, to allow for increased demand, some power stations may have still been burning coal despite not actually generating electricity.

Nor was the coal-free day the triumph for green energy that many media outlets claimed. According to National Grid, more than half of the energy generated (50.3%) was from gas. Nuclear accounted for 21.2%; imports 8.3%. Semi-renewable biomass generated 6.7%; while wind and solar accounted for the remaining 15.8%.

The timing of the “coal-free day” on the eve of Earth Day suggests some manipulation of the UK’s energy mix and a large dose of PR spin may have been involved. Whether this is true or not, it appears that Britain quickly increased its coal use again the day after… and we have seen little sign of coal free days since.


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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Wed 26 Apr 2017, 15:02:53

T - Good catch. And as pointed above to meet the anticipated growth in electricity demand the Brits will have to outsource even more of its imported fossil fuel generated power along with increased consumption of NG. And will probably be much worse with France's plan to significantly reduce nuke electricity generation. That would prove big leave the Netherlands to fill any gap. The Netherlands that produce almost 100% of its electricity from fossil fuels...including coal.

And the irony that would surprise many in the US: In 2015, the US exported the most coal to the Netherlands—about 13 million short tons. This was about 17% of total U.S. coal exports in 2015.

So yes: a portion of the electricity consumed in Briton on "coal free day" was generated in Dutch power plants burning US coal mined in the Appalachians. Coal that was hauled by diesel burning trains to US ports from which it was hauled across the Atlantic in freighters burning diesel.

I wonder if that paper trail was highlighted in any London papers? LOL.
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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby Synapsid » Wed 26 Apr 2017, 17:08:37

ROCKMAN,

The Netherlands is a major distribution center for imported coal, I believe. It may be that a significant amount of the US coal that arrived there was sent on to other countries.

Anyone have numbers for that?
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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby kublikhan » Wed 26 Apr 2017, 18:17:41

Looks like a good portion of the coal the Netherlands imports gets re-exported:

Netherlands Coal 2014
Imports 47,827 kt
Exports 31,864 kt
Netherlands Coal 2014
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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 27 Apr 2017, 00:09:36

Syn - You see k has some good numbers. The Dutch are also significant re-exporters of LNG and oil. But more then 90% of the Netherlands electricity (including exports to the UK) comes from burning fossil fuels. And based on the Dutch lack of enthusiasm the situation doesn't look like it will change soon:

"At 5.5 percent renewable energy, the Netherlands was third from last. Only Malta and Luxembourg had less energy coming from renewable sources, at 4.7 and 4.5 percent respectively. Sweden is the leader with 53 percent of its energy coming from renewable sources."
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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby Synapsid » Thu 27 Apr 2017, 16:13:54

ROCKMAN,

Oh yes, no disagreement about the Netherlands' own production of electricity. Coal and oil, yes.

I'm guessing that the UK doesn't want to hear that.
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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 27 Apr 2017, 21:37:56

Syn - Any diversion away from coal is a good thing. But I see the UK as potentially being the first long established economy eventually going back to coal if imported electricity/NG become too limited/expensive. That's if the alts are developed fast enough. If not coal could be come the "bridge" to future renewable energy sources. As far as King coal being dead - as I just posted elsewhere:

The world is currently consuming more coal then at any other time in history prior to 2011. Coal prices significantly vary from one region to another. Currently coal consumption is growing fastest in Asia with much of the supply coming from Australia: As of March 2017 Aussie coal was selling for $80/short ton. BTW when global coal production peaked in 2011 the price was $37/short ton. Adjusted for inflation that current price is the highest since records began in 1949 and more then twice the average price for the last 68 years.

https://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/an ... ?t=ptb0709
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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby Synapsid » Fri 28 Apr 2017, 18:56:30

ROCKMAN et al.,

There's a piece on OilPrice today, an editorial that I guess is from yesterday that I didn't see, about China's plans to build coal-powered plants in Pakistan; looking to spend up to $62 Billion, which would be a lot of plants. The article says that they aren't supercritical coal fired plants but are instead the subcritical (read: less efficient and with greater emissions of CO2, and sulfur oxides, and mercury, and...) that China doesn't build at home anymore. A commenter on the article says that "some" of them are, in fact, to be the supercritical type.

In other coal-related etc., Christy Clark, British Columbia's Premier, pointed out yesterday that one tool BC has for response to US tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber exports to the US is to stop exporting US coal to Asia. Coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana is shipped by rail and barge to western Washington state and then railed right up the Puget Lowland (and under downtown Seattle) to export terminals near (north of, I believe) Vancouver. Ms Clark's message is "We won't play nice if you won't" (not her words.)

Proposals for coal-export terminals on the US West Coast are routinely blocked. Ms Clark knows she holds a strong hand. This is worth watching.
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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 28 Apr 2017, 22:42:12

Syn - "Proposals for coal-export terminals on the US West Coast are routinely blocked. Ms Clark knows she holds a strong hand."

But not a huge hand. Might surprise many to know that 40% of US coal exports ship out of Norfork, Virg.
And as west coast export terminals were stalled President Obama had his agencies expedite approval for terminal expansion/construction in Texas and Louisiana.

Old news...from 2012:

"The planned expansion would more than double Peabody's export capacity along the Gulf Coast to between 5 million and 7 million tons annually between 2014 and 2020, according to company officials. In 2011, Peabody shipped 6.6 million tons of coal through export terminals on the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts, and it has projected total exports of 10 million tons for this year.

The company expects to begin shipping Colorado and Powder River Basin coal through the Houston terminal in 2014. Shipments of Colorado and Powder River Basin coal from Louisiana will begin around the same time, and Peabody will extend contracts at the Cora River terminal in Illinois to facilitate shipments of Illinois Basin coal for domestic and international markets."

And who can predict the future with President Trump forcing Canada and Mexico to the negotiating table over NAFTA.
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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby Synapsid » Sat 29 Apr 2017, 12:01:52

ROCKMAN,

All true but shipping from the West Coast is the cheapest way to get the stuff to East and SE Asia and vicinity. She can't sway the world but I'd expect she has a point.

Come to think of it, BC has its own coal, hence the export terminals I guess, and it's metallurgical not thermal. They've just been being helpful.
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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby Subjectivist » Sat 29 Apr 2017, 12:04:11

I wonder if the big exporters have looked at Mexico ports for export terminals? I read a book a while back that proposed Guyumas Mexico, on the Gulf of California, as an export terminal for products the left coast states don't approve of like coal and dillbit. Don't recall the title but the impression given was the rail links from Texas already exist so under NAFTA it would be a money maker to ship to China.
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Re: THE Coal Thread pt 3 (merged)

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sat 29 Apr 2017, 23:41:59

Syn - Actually Mexico has been exporting coal sporadically since at least 1980. Not much volume until 2011: 267,000 tons.

https://www.indexmundi.com/energy/?coun ... ph=exports

No idea if expanding with US coal would be practical. But found this:

http://www.sightline.org/2014/05/15/prb ... gh-mexico/

New coal export proposal may signal desperation over Northwest terminals.

"According to an article in a coal trade publication last week, a private firm has announced plans to open a coal export terminal in Guaymas, Mexico. The project aims to ship 30 million tons of coal per year to Asia, sourced from the Powder River Basin and other mining regions in the western US."

{But adds} "In today’s market, coal companies simply can’t ship PRB coal to Asia through Guaymas without losing their shirts. The transportation costs are too high, and the prices that PRB coal would receive in Asia are too low."
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