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(Guardian)   Don't like coal? Why not simply buy every coal company and shut it down?   (theguardian.com) divider line 70
    More: Obvious, board of directors, green business, management fee, consequences of climate change, coal, acid rain, renewable energy  
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2412 clicks; posted to Business » on 12 Mar 2014 at 2:58 PM (20 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-12 02:55:44 PM
How many windmills would it take to suck out all the energy from Earth's wind sources and eliminate wind forever?

I mean isn't wind the one thing that makes very hot, very rainy, and very cold days just the worst?
 
2014-03-12 03:03:36 PM
Isn't this like Napolitano's claim that Lincoln could've just bought every slave?
 
2014-03-12 03:05:03 PM
Sounds like a plan to me they can spend $50bn to buy and close the existing plants.  I'll open a new one, hire the workers at a discount and sell coal at a premium to a market that still wants the stuff.
 
2014-03-12 03:05:47 PM

propasaurus: sn't this like Napolitano's claim that Lincoln could've just bought every slave?


Yes, it's exactly like it with no differences whatsoever and don't believe anybody who tells you otherwise.
 
2014-03-12 03:10:40 PM
Not a bad idea.   This is how our democracy works.

Want change?  Buy it.
 
2014-03-12 03:11:41 PM
Because they're all blowhard hypocrites who just want the little people to cut back on the things they personally have no intention of cutting back on?
 
2014-03-12 03:16:20 PM

Mr. Eugenides: Sounds like a plan to me they can spend $50bn to buy and close the existing plants.  I'll open a new one, hire the workers at a discount and sell coal at a premium to a market that still wants the stuff.


That's a hell of an undertaking to find a coal mine that wouldn't already be owned and shut down. You know some secret stash of coal that nobody else knows about?
 
2014-03-12 03:17:34 PM
Gee... I wonder if the DOJ/ITC or FERC would have anything to say about someone buying up an entire industry.
 
2014-03-12 03:23:01 PM
What if Bloomberg, Branson and Grantham came together to buyout the coal industry, close and clean up the mines, retrain workers and accelerate the expansion of renewable energy?

Grantham? He's so broke he might have to sell part of the estate!
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2014-03-12 03:24:00 PM
jaylectricity:

That's a hell of an undertaking to find a coal mine that wouldn't already be owned and shut down. You know some secret stash of coal that nobody else knows about?

It would be pretty easy to find new deposits.  It's not like every inch of land has been surveyed.
 
2014-03-12 03:26:29 PM

jaylectricity: Mr. Eugenides: Sounds like a plan to me they can spend $50bn to buy and close the existing plants.  I'll open a new one, hire the workers at a discount and sell coal at a premium to a market that still wants the stuff.

That's a hell of an undertaking to find a coal mine that wouldn't already be owned and shut down. You know some secret stash of coal that nobody else knows about?


It depends on who ownes the mining rights to the land being mined.   Many contracts i would assume the people could just lease the land to others if they fail to live up to their contract.  And I assume abandoning a producing mine would negate a contract.

Kind of like when a movie studio buys movie rights to a book they have to produce a movie based on the product after a certain amount of time or the Copyright holders can then sell the rights again.
 
2014-03-12 03:29:48 PM
Centralia has some coal deposits

For 50+ years, it has been burning underground

www.pahighways.com
 
2014-03-12 03:30:29 PM
It would be a lot cheaper and effective to just buy Congress.
 
2014-03-12 03:32:59 PM

Wendy's Chili: What if Bloomberg, Branson and Grantham came together to buyout the coal industry, close and clean up the mines, retrain workers and accelerate the expansion of renewable energy?

Grantham? He's so broke he might have to sell part of the estate!


Thats okay. The venture would be backed by Green Energy Loans from the Obama Administration. Sure the companies would never be profitable, but that has never been a concern for those loans.
 
2014-03-12 03:34:33 PM
It worked when Standard Oil wanted a better market for gasoline. Bought up all the tram and public transport companies, and closed them.

But, yeah. Unless it was a massive build project of Thorium/Uranium nuclear, no.
 
2014-03-12 03:35:12 PM
Did you know that you can just START a business?
 
2014-03-12 03:38:43 PM
Coal companies are doing just fine destroying themselves.  Arch Coal and Peabody are worth less than half what they were two years ago.  US coal use is dropping fast, this past freak winter aside.
 
2014-03-12 03:42:36 PM

enik: Because they're all blowhard hypocrites who just want the little people to cut back on the things they personally have no intention of cutting back on?


What do you figure Bill Gates' daily coal intake is?
 
2014-03-12 03:46:02 PM
You're better off attacking the demand side -- buy coal-burning electrical utilities, and convert them to a more efficient source of power.  If you go around buying coal companies you'll end up increasing the price of coal, making it more profitable for the remaining coal companies, and of course if you try to buy them it'll cost you a lot more. And even if you shut down every coal company in the US you'll create a windfall for coal companies in other countries.
 
2014-03-12 03:52:47 PM

jaylectricity: Mr. Eugenides: Sounds like a plan to me they can spend $50bn to buy and close the existing plants.  I'll open a new one, hire the workers at a discount and sell coal at a premium to a market that still wants the stuff.

That's a hell of an undertaking to find a coal mine that wouldn't already be owned and shut down. You know some secret stash of coal that nobody else knows about?


Like most freemarketeers I'm sure he's got it hidden where they hide all their mystery alternatives they never stick around to elaborate on: up his ass.
 
2014-03-12 03:54:25 PM

Rambino: Gee... I wonder if the DOJ/ITC or FERC would have anything to say about someone buying up an entire industry.


Seems to me like you could do it in stages. Only buy one company/mine at a time, taking steps each time to ensure that you very effectively (and very publicly) Shut. Down. Everything. The DOJ/ITC would (probably?) only care if you were buying up the entire industry in order to monopolize it for profit. If you're buying it for the express purpose of utterly destroying it, why should they care?
 
2014-03-12 03:55:22 PM

HotWingConspiracy: enik: Because they're all blowhard hypocrites who just want the little people to cut back on the things they personally have no intention of cutting back on?

What do you figure Bill Gates' daily coal intake is?


640kg
 
2014-03-12 03:57:31 PM
this could be accomplished with no interruption to electricity supplies, adding only about a penny or two to each kilowatt-hour on electricity bills.

So, only a 10-30% increase in electricity. No biggy, that won't hurt any low income/middle class people at all. We have cheap power in the NW, and can pay as little as about $0.07/KwH, so a 2 cent increase is ~30%.
 
2014-03-12 03:59:03 PM

Crotchrocket Slim: jaylectricity: Mr. Eugenides: Sounds like a plan to me they can spend $50bn to buy and close the existing plants.  I'll open a new one, hire the workers at a discount and sell coal at a premium to a market that still wants the stuff.

That's a hell of an undertaking to find a coal mine that wouldn't already be owned and shut down. You know some secret stash of coal that nobody else knows about?

Like most freemarketeers I'm sure he's got it hidden where they hide all their mystery alternatives they never stick around to elaborate on: up his ass.


Didn't you know that was where synthetic diamonds come from?
 
2014-03-12 03:59:11 PM
OK, so now the power plants import the coal they need to keep operating, and raise everyone's electric bill because of the increase in transportation costs.

How is that a win, exactly?
 
2014-03-12 04:01:04 PM

Mr. Eugenides: Sounds like a plan to me they can spend $50bn to buy and close the existing plants.  I'll open a new one, hire the workers at a discount and sell coal at a premium to a market that still wants the stuff.


But if you built a new coal plant, it would have to use the laws passed in the 60s to clean them up. That is why we expand old ones to use the loopholes around this and make more money.
 
2014-03-12 04:03:39 PM
There goes my Christmas.
 
2014-03-12 04:08:56 PM
Someone should find\replace the word Coal for Dragons in that article and it would be a good script for a movie.
 
2014-03-12 04:09:27 PM

Dazrin: this could be accomplished with no interruption to electricity supplies, adding only about a penny or two to each kilowatt-hour on electricity bills.

So, only a 10-30% increase in electricity. No biggy, that won't hurt any low income/middle class people at all. We have cheap power in the NW, and can pay as little as about $0.07/KwH, so a 2 cent increase is ~30%.


I would like to see their backup on that.  I am a bit skeptical here.
 
2014-03-12 04:10:23 PM
It's actually the patent problem. If you start buying up coal properties without cutting demand, the later sellouts will be increasingly profitable.

Of course, this also point to the bleeding obvious issue that the company buying up coal to save the world might just be engaged in creating an anticompetitive trust. Someone might dust off those 120 year old laws about not cornering markets.
 
2014-03-12 04:15:44 PM
retrain and re-employ some 87,000 workers, and create job opportunities and prosperity for coal-based communities

That might be the tricky part.
 
2014-03-12 04:22:25 PM
You would need to buy up all the mining rights of every property that produces coal or could effectly produce coal.   Mining rights are seperate from property ownership.
 
2014-03-12 04:25:34 PM

Dazrin: this could be accomplished with no interruption to electricity supplies, adding only about a penny or two to each kilowatt-hour on electricity bills.

So, only a 10-30% increase in electricity. No biggy, that won't hurt any low income/middle class people at all. We have cheap power in the NW, and can pay as little as about $0.07/KwH, so a 2 cent increase is ~30%.


Goddamn.  Our Tier 1 price* is 13.7c/kwh.

* CA has progressively tiered pricing, which basically means that poor people have to live inland and spend $500/month on A/C because it's 105 degrees in the shade, while the lawyer in his Malibu mansion pays nothing because he's cooled by the breeze.  This would be more of an issue except that CA Democrats don't actually care about poor people.  And there's probably welfare subsidies anyways, since the normal pattern is to make something stupidly incredibly expensive, throw out welfare to the poors so that they can afford it, and the middle-class can go pound sand.
 
2014-03-12 04:29:47 PM
the only money Rich folk don't mind spending is tax money.  they don't like spending their own. their scheme is to take in wealth, not give it out/spend it, and not stimulate the economy.

that is for the little people to do.
 
2014-03-12 04:30:22 PM

NoSugarAdded: It would be a lot cheaper and effective to just buy Congress.



they already have.  and the plan is working very well.
 
2014-03-12 04:32:08 PM

sendtodave: Not a bad idea.   This is how our democracy works.

Want change?  Buy it.



well the Surpremely F*cked up Court of the U.S. decided that Corporations are people and money is the same as free speech.
 
2014-03-12 04:36:44 PM
Most likely the billionaires would tank their wealth as they sold all the stock they have in their own companies sending the stock of those companies falling.

Also coal is a commodity.   Buying up coal companies thinking that will stop the flow is like thinking buying up all the farmers means their wont be food anymore.   The coal is still there someone else will just produce it.

Also "Bill Gates how dare you make a monoply with your supperior product because profits stop that.   Why don't you create a monoply for this inferior product because it makes unicorns poop rainbows."
 
2014-03-12 04:41:16 PM
So have they considered just making a better way of getting electricity?

I mean, if we're using coal for power, there's a reason for it.  Might not be good or valid anymore, but at some point, some reasonably bright people sat down and said "We're burning black rocks for fuel" and there was a reason for it.

Figure out a better way of doing baseload power for cheaper (Hint: Nukes - BANANAs is probably your best bet, and you can spread the old "Coal Plants put out more radiation than nuke plants" fact) and we'll switch.  It'll be slow, but we'll switch.
 
2014-03-12 04:41:42 PM
You need coal to make steel and concrete, not to mention other industrial uses. Plus, I think a small number of investors buying up an entire industry just to shut it down would be looked upon dimly by both state and federal governments.
 
2014-03-12 04:43:42 PM

buzzcut73: OK, so now the power plants import the coal they need to keep operating, and raise everyone's electric bill because of the increase in transportation costs.

How is that a win, exactly?


A better idea would be to buy all the coal power plants and shut them down instead of buying the coal mines, IMHO.  Or do both.
 
2014-03-12 04:50:13 PM
Throw another briquette on the barbie.
 lunar.thegamez.net
 
2014-03-12 04:52:53 PM

Geotpf: buzzcut73: OK, so now the power plants import the coal they need to keep operating, and raise everyone's electric bill because of the increase in transportation costs.

How is that a win, exactly?

A better idea would be to buy all the coal power plants and shut them down instead of buying the coal mines, IMHO.  Or do both.



That would be harder than one thinks.   The owners of the coal mines probably don't even own the mining rights to the land.  So buying the mine and shutting it down may just mean that the rights revert back to the holder of the mining rights,  which can be seperate from the property rights holder.
 
2014-03-12 04:54:49 PM

meyerkev: Dazrin: this could be accomplished with no interruption to electricity supplies, adding only about a penny or two to each kilowatt-hour on electricity bills.

So, only a 10-30% increase in electricity. No biggy, that won't hurt any low income/middle class people at all. We have cheap power in the NW, and can pay as little as about $0.07/KwH, so a 2 cent increase is ~30%.

Goddamn.  Our Tier 1 price* is 13.7c/kwh.


I might be a little low, it has been a while since I looked for pricing, but even at your rates that's a 15% increase. Not exactly a "minor" increase like they are implying. And as HeadLever said, I am skeptical on their numbers too.
 
2014-03-12 04:55:47 PM
Yeah. Coal is used for more than generating electricity. Steel making for instance.
 
2014-03-12 04:58:16 PM
This seems as realistic as all the other "Use this one WEIRD TRICK to accomplish x" claims. How about an actual business plan?
 
2014-03-12 05:04:11 PM

Dazrin: I might be a little low, it has been a while since I looked for pricing, but even at your rates that's a 15% increase. Not exactly a "minor" increase like they are implying.


yeah, this seems waaaay too low.  If you are going to replace your coal plants with renewables, you have to completely revamp the transmission system to bring this new power to market (Wind/solar/hydro is not likely going to be located where coal power is currently being generated).  You also have a major undertaking updating the grid infrastructure to handle the fact that much of your renewable energy is not baseloaded).

Add in the fact that just permitting these types of infrastructure projects take years and years, and you can pretty much take that 10 year goal as wishful thinking.
 
2014-03-12 05:06:34 PM

Dazrin: this could be accomplished with no interruption to electricity supplies, adding only about a penny or two to each kilowatt-hour on electricity bills.

So, only a 10-30% increase in electricity. No biggy, that won't hurt any low income/middle class people at all. We have cheap power in the NW, and can pay as little as about $0.07/KwH, so a 2 cent increase is ~30%.


It's nice to know you're so wealthy that you can absorb an increase in expenses easily.
 
2014-03-12 05:08:31 PM

jaylectricity: Mr. Eugenides: Sounds like a plan to me they can spend $50bn to buy and close the existing plants.  I'll open a new one, hire the workers at a discount and sell coal at a premium to a market that still wants the stuff.

That's a hell of an undertaking to find a coal mine that wouldn't already be owned and shut down. You know some secret stash of coal that nobody else knows about?


This. Its not a scarft knitting factory, and its also not 1853. Good luck 'just opening a new one' somewhere.
 
2014-03-12 05:10:28 PM

Incontinent_dog_and_monkey_rodeo: Coal companies are doing just fine destroying themselves.  Arch Coal and Peabody are worth less than half what they were two years ago.  US coal use is dropping fast, this past freak winter aside.


I drive by a number of coal terminals on my way to work. What we don't or can't use here, someone else is still buying and using.

If the US had the facilities for exporting LNG, that would sell even faster, since the US price is about a quarter of the global price.
 
2014-03-12 05:34:46 PM
I wonder how this compares to buying up a crapload of alt-energy producers, turning the R&D spending all the way up, and just planning on losing a couple billion bucks a year for the next couple of decades undercutting coal until you can legitimately outperform it.
 
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