A group that’s funded by energy companies is telling presidential candidates in Iowa not to discount coal as one of the energy sources for the future.
Critics of coal-fired power plants say they send too much pollution into the air and are not as clean as other sources of energy.
Joe Lucas, the executive director of Americans for Balanced Energy Choices , says the critics are being to harsh on coal. Lucas says he learned around age four that "clean" is a relative term, as he would clean his room, but his mom wouldn’t think it was clean enough. Lucas says there are some groups for which coal will never be clean enough.
During a stop at the state capitol, Lucas says the energy industry has made great strides in cleaning up coal plants. He says advanced technology has made coal-burning plants 70-percent cleaner than it was just a few years ago, and the industry is committed to further cleaning up the plants with the evolution of technology, with things like carbon capture. "so for people who’re opposed to coal, I say, what are your options?"
Lucas says Iowa has lots of coal available and approximately 78-percent of the state’s electricity is coal-based. "I’m not gonna tell you coal is perfect, but no energy resource is," Lucas says, "and with technology when you look at the abundance of coal that’s available here in this country, the cost… I’m sorry, but coal is a good option,not only for Iowa, but all of the United States. Lucas says the U.S. can’t turn its back on coal.
Lucas says we’re becoming more energy efficient, but we’re also using more energy. He says we can’t buy into the fact that our energy needs can be met with just renewables, nor can we get by with just coal. Lucas says we’re going to need all kinds of energy and need to invest in technology to make it cleaner.
A proposed new coal-fired power plant in Marshalltown has critics, including the state consumer advocate, and environmental groups, who saying cleaner alternatives should be used to create the energy.