$50 Billion Buyout of US Coal Industry Proposed

We’ve talked here about the potential effect of LENR on the coal industry, and whether the cold fusion would cause the demise of coal over time. Well, there’s a proposal out there to shut down the United States coal industry in a rather more dramatic fashion — just buy it out and close it down over a period of 10 years.

This is the proposal in an article in the Guardian newspaper by Felix Kramer and Gil Friend, who say the benefits of such a buyout would be immense — worth $345 billion a year in savings in health and environmental costs according to a Harvard Medical School study. The authors argue that the $50 billion buyout would be a boon to those in the coal industry which is already under heavy financial pressure.

“This buyout could come at a deep discount, rescuing the beleaguered owners, shareholders, and workforce of a dead-end industry. Coal has a dark future, already foreshadowed in declining stock market prices and abandoned plans for new construction. It faces competition from natural gas and renewables. And public opposition has led to hundreds of coal plants closed or blocked by the Sierra Club and its allies”

Friend and Kramer encourage wealthy philanthropists like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Richard Branson, who are already concerned about the environment, to consider putting some of their wealth behind this move — they say it would be a direct way to affect positive environmental change.

There’s not much in the article of what the effect of such a buyout would have on domestic energy prices, and the knock on effect for the economy. The authors believe the move would increase domestic electricity prices by 1 to 2 cents per kilowatt hour. Coal is still the cheapest energy source used for the production of electricity, and almost half of American electricity is generated by coal. Eliminating coal as a power source in one fell swoop could provide a shock for the economy — unless it was replaced by something cheaper like the E-Cat.

  • GreenWin

    Apparently this number is far too low.

  • Doug Cutler

    I think those big players are more likely to put their money directly into renewables. In fact, Warren Buffet has recently invested nearly 2B in wind turbines.

  • Christopher Calder

    Natural gas is cheaper than coal for new power plant costs and fuel use. Burning coal in old plants is pretty cheap. I don’t think anyone should buy out coal. Let coal die out of its own accord as newer, cheaper, and cleaner energy sources come on line. We do not need to increase the cost of electricity. We need to make it cheaper. Let the billionaires invest in LENR and simplified hot fusion. That would be a better use of their money. But, of course, it is up to them.

  • bachcole

    I don’t see how this is going to be a benefit to workers, and I am a libertarian-conservative thinker. Suddenly the workers are out of a job with no training to do anything else, and government training programs are usually an embarrassing, wretched, tax-wasting joke. I doubt that anyone wants to hurt the workers, but unemployment would be what would happen to them, plain and simple.

    I also know that those billionaires don’t have stacks of bills sitting around in their basements. ALL of their billions are invested somewhere else, and those other businesses would take a big hit if the billionaire boys suddenly sold $50 billion.

    The only part of the idea that I like is the improvement in health, and I look forward to that with extremely keen anticipation as LENR comes on line. That is so appealing that it is worth getting more hardcore about my health just so that I can live long enough to see it happen naturally via LENR, as Iggy said.

    • BroKeeper

      Companies won’t train the people – very rare. However, government could begin having them hired through contractual bids with companies to repair this country’s very poor infrastructures. LENR energy savings could provide incentives to drive down its cost.

  • Ophelia Rump

    The idea is pointless unless there is a replacement to fill the void, and pointless if there is a replacement which is displacing the industry.

    Benefit to the workers what a novel and beneficent thought, sure, that will happen.

  • Jimr

    Interesting idea, how many additional people would be suddenly unemployed, miners, admin, train employees, power company employees. I think it better to die a slow death.

    • Iggy Dalrymple

      I agree. When & if LENR hits the marketplace, coal will die a natural death.