As well as being a carbon emissions growth nightmare, in the USA, the coal industry cannot pay for itself. It appears that a simple physics energy principle applies to so-called advanced coal power stations, for which lower emissions are claimed. Higher efficiency also means greater cost of energy production. Dirtier and less efficient means lower cost. This has been the case for every proposed and enacted measure to reduce pollution from coal generated electricity. Coal power stations owners have always opposed every engineer change that was mandated to enforce reduced pollution.
High efficiency, low cost and low emission coal power stations are unlikely to be deliverable. We would already have them if they were. They do not exist anywhere. Any GOM-less politician would know this. Of course I mean that all of the new coal fired power proponents are GOM players, who are naturally ignorant of their subject matter, and their favoured mates are Coal mine owners that need new Coal fired power generation to grow the declining market demand. The Minerals Council of Australia is committing fraud by insisting that such things exist.
The costs of coal production for miners are rising. If they don't get recouped by the miner,
if the coal miner also owns the power generation plant, like Adani once claimed, the electricity will have to cost more. Adani is now trying to sell off its Indian coal generation power facility for a song. It must be keeping up financial appearances with pretence of viability of the Carmichael mine project, because it might get some badly needed money off Australia. The fact that the Australian government has not already cancelled the project speaks volumes about high levels of government fraud.
Modern coal mining is heavily automated by monster machines, that
need lots of power, to get the
deeper, harder to get, coal reserves that remain, process them, and move them greater distances. As more power needs to be used to get coal, more coal needs to be burned to power its own extraction. These are the same
reserves that mostly cannot be burned, to stay below Paris 2015 agreement for
global warming limits.
A form of energy return over energy invested applies to all energy mining. Energy is expended first as input costs. Other energy inputs such as diesel oil for transportation are also not cheap. Digging up the coal gets more expensive, because the invested energy is increasing, since the easiest stuff has always been taken first. As the proportion of input energy required increases, it becomes relatively expensive. Energy margin falls, profit margin falls, and either sale price or quantities produced need to increase to pay off capital costs. If the extracted, processed, transported product needs to be used for an energy source in the extraction process, someone is going to lose, if the delivery costs are high.
If cheaper renewable sources need to be used for the input energies for the coal mine to help, it also loses part of its market, demand falls, and the wholesale price won't cover its input costs. The coal industry is outbid by cheaper technology.
similar conundrum applies to the global oil industry, which needs lots
of energy from cheap oil, in order to deliver a net energy product. Off-shore oil rigs with kilometres of ocean depth and below crust pipeline, cannot pay for its own energy extraction with a net profit, at current oil prices. That is why so many ocean oil rigs have been moth-balled. If a new Saudi Arabia of cheap oil were discovered, ocean drilling would be redundant. If not, then it is too expensive.
As this IEEFA article says, coal cannot pay in the USA.
Some coal-fired power has gotten so expensive that coal producers are complaining about how much they have to pay for it.
Coal-fired power has gotten so uneconomical that even coal-mining companies can’t make it work.
In Australia, the big power companies bought the old coal-fired generation plants very cheaply. Fixing them or replacing them would be very expensive, and as global-warmed brain-fried stupid as the Australia government , and its big four fossil fuel funding banks, continues to be.