September 18th, 2014
On the face of it, it sounds like a major miscalculation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The agency’s latest rules requiring that power plants reduce emissions are actually increasing the use of higher sulfur content coal.
The EPA is requiring that all coal-fired generating facilities introduce sulfur scrubbers to decrease the amount of sulfur dioxide pollution entering the atmosphere.
However, the effect of requiring and installing scrubbers has been to encourage the use of “dirtier” low-grade coal from the Illinois basin at the expense of the higher-grade Appalachian coal.
At the center of this counterintuitive result is a combination of price and heat content.
That, in turn, has improved the short to medium-term prospects for this niche of coal stocks…
September 16th, 2014
This isn’t the first time the devolution movement has threatened to break up the United Kingdom.
Scotland and Wales were considering their independence when I was living in London and lecturing at the London School of Economics almost forty years ago.
These days it seems like “déjà vu all over again.”
On Thursday, there will be a vote in Scotland to decide whether it will separate from the rest of the UK, and the latest polls are too close to call.
On the previous occasions, London always provided some concessions and the moves to break away failed. This time, however, the drive for an independent Scotland is better organized, led, and financed.
Either way, the latest vote appears to be a tight one.
For the government, Scottish independence would be a direct rejection of Prime Minister David Cameron. Yet on the other side of the aisle, the Labour Party would lose a significant number of Scottish seats in the UK Parliament, reducing its chances of unseating the Conservative-Liberal coalition anytime soon.
And there are numerous implications for the energy sector throughout if the vote succeeds…