I’ve been following the economic news pretty closely since December 2006, when Pastor Thomas McConnell sent out an email that awoke me from my dogmatic slumbers. I deliberately avoid writing about items in the news that are well known and more or less self-explanatory. But occasionally I read a report that I can’t immediately understand, that doesn’t fit in well with what I already knew, that makes me stop and think “Hmm, what the heck does that imply?” Those are the ones I tend to post about. So don’t be bothered if you read one of these posts and end up puzzled about what I’m getting at; it’s probably news that puzzles me as well.
Of all the economic turbulence that’s been reported on this week, it was this tidbit about coal prices that gave me pause: coal prices have nearly doubled in the past three months.
Coal is used to generate about 50% of the electricity used in the U.S. But as Byron King says, it is China where the increase in demand is most dramatic:
China’s coal consumption is mind-bending. China is currently building giant, 500-megawatt coal-fired power plant systems in an almost assembly line fashion. And China is installing and commissioning these coal burners at an astounding rate of THREE per WEEK!!!
Each year as of late, China has added more electrical generation capacity than the entire nation of Germany. And Chinese electrical generation capacity has been growing at a steady rate of over 15% per year for the past five years.