Today, electricity has become the basic necessity of life. To fulfill this need, governments utilize different means to produce electricity. Independent power producers and power plants owned by government itself both have to put abundant electricity in national or regional grids to fulfill the requirements of people. Due to the consistent increase in power consumption, energy crisis is also emerging. To cope with such crisis, different energy resources must be utilized. Coal is one of the major resource available for producing cheap electricity today. Fortunately, coal reservoirs are also in abundant supply in most countries.
China is one of the prominent countries which is getting benefit from coal reserves on large scale. In power sector, it is the leader in producing electricity from coal. Approximately, 78 % of total electricity generated in China is produced using coal. Chinese know very well what the actual key is to become world’s biggest economy. So, despite of all criticisms from so called super powers, it is investing more in the power sector which is relying heavily upon coal. On the other hand, US which is the leader in criticizing use of coal itself produces 42-44 % of total electricity through coal reserves.
|Coal Powered Junliangcheng Power Plant in Tianjin|
There is an extensive debate on how much environmentally friendly coal burning actually is and how to minimize the pollution caused by it. In traditional power plants, coal is directly burnt to run power generators. But with the research in this field, certain most efficient and low pollution causing techniques have been devised which has now made use of coal safe and eco friendly. IGCC (integrated gasification combined cycle) is a technology which converts coal into synthetic gas (syngas) and removes carbon and other impurities from it. In turn, this gas is extremely less polluting than raw coal or petroleum. Syngas which is also known as coal gas can also be easily converted into petrol and diesel with Fischer-Tropsch process. So, coal in a real sense is extremely beneficial now.
Electricity produced by nuclear power plants is also relatively cheaper than electricity produced by fossil fuels. Despite of large scale use of this technology, radioactive pollutants and radiations produced by plants is extremely injurious to human health. Radioactive radiation is the major cause of cancer today. Also, any incident or natural disaster can damage the reactors resulting in uncontrolled chain reactions and wide spread of harmful radiations. Incident of Fukushima scales the disaster level caused by nuclear plants.
Solar power and wind power are renewable energy resources just like hydropower. Initial cost of solar power system is very high. Quality solar panels are extremely expensive and their setup among with necessary equipment costs extra money. Whereas wind power which is also a cheap source of electricity also has some drawbacks. Wind turbines can not be installed every where. Coastline is the prime location for their installation. Also, energy produced by these two sources alone is not enough to fulfill all demands on commercial scale. But these do help in adding some surplus electricity into electrical grid and cutting down some expanses on non renewable energy resources like coal and fossil fuels.