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This is a bit long but very interesting, on the evidence that coal is actually not cheap.  Shows why efficiency of coal-fired power generation is only half that of a century ago (modern regulations incentivize making electricity instead of making money, so the waste heat is not used for anything).  Shows that using the heat not wasted could replace 40% of the US' electricity generation.  Shows causes and effects of fleet development and capacity use of nuclear, coal, and nat gas have led to the present configuration of the energy system.  Argues that regulatory reform could provide more and much cheaper electricity, reduce greenhouse gases, and grow the economy simultaneously.  Argues that getting the policy framework fixed is essential as we set out to vastly grow the energy system, with huge associated costs.  Thus, this challenges much "common knowledge."

http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/6/4/123223/5089

Dr. Stephen R. Humphrey, Director of Academic Programs,
School of Natural Resources and Environment,
Box 116455, 103 Black Hall, University of Florida
Gainesville, FL  32611-6455  USA
Tel. 352-392-9230, Fax 352-392-9748
http://snre.ufl.edu<http://snre.ufl.edu/>