There’s no question that this nation needs to devote far more attention to the development of economical, alternative ways to generate electrical power.
One of President-elect Obama’s campaign pledges or promises is to make this country independent of foreign oil in 10 years. Whether this goal is attainable is questionable, but regardless, every effort needs to be made to develop and expand wind, solar and nuclear power sources.
Midwest Research Institute in Kansas City is the nation’s leader in research and development of solar power and its advances have been significant. Nevertheless, far more research is needed if the United States is to come anywhere near being independent of foreign oil.
Like it or not, coal currently is this nation’s most abundant, available and usable source of energy. Nuclear energy offers the most potential for the coming years, but it will be many years before there are sufficient nuclear plants to make a major dent in meeting this country’s energy demands.
Much has been said in the current debate over the possible construction of two giant coal-fired power plants near Holcomb. The governor has turned down two requests for construction permits, and there has been considerable debate about the project in the Kansas Legislature. Sunflower Electric Power Corp. filed a lawsuit earlier this month seeking to overturn the decision to deny the plant permits.
Dirty, ugly and dangerous emissions from coal-fired plants, along with growing public concern about the need to protect our environment, have combined to give coal and coal-fired plants an extremely negative image. President-elect Obama has said anyone trying to build a coal-fired power plant is likely to go bankrupt trying to meet the new environmental standards he intends to set.
Does this mean our country should turn its back on this huge supply of energy? It doesn’t make sense.
Why doesn’t Kansas, and its scientists and engineers, come up with the know-how to build a coal-fired plant that would meet the most stringent environmental guidelines, a truly clean plant? In addition to the expertise of MRI researchers, Black and Veatch, which has its headquarters in Johnson County, is one of the world’s most experienced engineering firms dealing with energy plants.
Added to the resources of MRI and Black and Veatch are the vast resources of Koch Industries in Wichita. Consider the talent, expertise and worldwide reputation these three companies could provide in helping Kansas be a national leader in developing a genuinely clean coal-fired electrical plant. It’s disturbing state officials have not used the expertise of these firms to help Kansas answer the current and future demands for more energy. Political gamesmanship is not the way to attack and solve this state and national priority.
Shouldn’t an effort to find a way to use coal be one of this nation’s most pressing energy needs? Why not devote the same energy and resources to such a project that have been marshaled to address other national challenges?
Is there any reason why Kansas could not be a leader in such an effort? Consider the payback to Kansas and the rest of the nation if coal could continue to be this nation’s No. 1 source of energy? Such technology could be used throughout the world.
Eventually, nuclear, wind and solar power will provide a larger percentage of America’s power, but that will be years away. In the meantime, every effort should be made to figure out a way to use coal to generate the energy this country will need for the next 20 to 30 years.
How much of this nation’s potential growth, as well as its position as a world economic power, will be handicapped if coal is eliminated as a continuing and future source of electrical power?
It’s far past time to develop environmentally clean coal-fired power plants. Why not have Kansas be the nation’s leader in such an effort?