Coal and Clean Energy?

2010 07 02%20pile%20of%20coal Coal and Clean Energy?

The demand for coal-powered electricity generation continued togrow, especially in Asia, during the 2009 global recession. Over 1gigawatt of coal-powered electricity generation was added in China perweek. With no signs of slowing, what can be done to change this pattern? One idea being discussed with friends is the creation of anAmerica-China Energy Trust to help build a new green energy economy inChina.The potential of China and green power has yet to be fullyrealized. Investment-grade opportunities are just now emerging, and thefirst surge of credible, reliable value appreciation – the establishment of global brands and new industry leaders – will be realized in Chinaover the next ten years.

The idea of creating a trust is at the convergence of these twotrends. This would be a new investment vehicle, designed for the private and institutional investor in the U.S., China and worldwide, to allowtransparent participation in high-quality green power companies in China and their U.S. counterparts. American management, technology, businessplanning and standards will enable acceleration of the new green energyeconomy. Technologies scaled and optimized in China will help build thenew clean energy economies in America, China and beyond.

We do not need to wait for all governments to agree to carboncredits, cap-and-trade or similar monetization tactics. We can unleashthe same economic engine that works for enabling small businessentrepreneurs to grow new industries across America to work globally.The idea is to identify, replicate or further innovate existing business successes.

For example, a creative Mongolian coal field operation is using thebest mining technologies available ? using the least possible resourcesin terms of water and chemicals, then sending that coal to electricpower plants that utilize the best available abatement methods, therebyminimizing waste and environmental erosion.

You may ask, what makes this even remotely acceptable in a greenportfolio?

There are several relevant points. A significant portion of theprofits from this operation will be contributed to local conservationinitiatives, especially in the major market: Beijing. Another portionwill be directed to clean power investments on those coal fields, so asthe coal is extracted, its one time output can be gradually replaced bycontinuous wind and solar generated electricity.

Another idea is a modern day version of the often quoted word fromthe movie "The Graduate" – plastics. Today Mr. McGuire might say theword "bioplastics" to Benjamin. The term is used to distinguish polymers made from agricultural products, such as grain or cellulosic startingmaterials, from those made from petroleum sources.

Although it might seem strange to tout the benefit of coal mining,when it is used as a means to drive further investment in clean energy,it might open a bridge from today to tomorrow.

Cleaning up the ecosystem one coal field at a time – it’s a start.