This month, the Colorado Senate will consider whether to amend Colorado's renewable energy portfolio standard to include electricity generated from burning methane gas vented from active and abandoned coal mines. The NFRIA-WSERC Conservation Center supports HB 1160, a bi-partisan effort sponsored by Senator Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass, and Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulpher Springs, because it benefits the environment and job creation in Delta County.
Coal mines must vent methane to safeguard their miners. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. This means that generating relatively minor amounts of electricity by burning methane could substantially reduce green house gas emissions in Colorado.
Energy analyst Randy Udall calculates that five megawatts of energy generated from coal mine methane emissions, at a capital cost of $10 million, would offset more carbon than $700 million of solar projects installed in Colorado as of 2010. The North Fork's current estimated potential is up to 40 megawatts of electricity and 3,000 carbon offsets per day.
Underground coal mines emit methane gas long after the coal reserves are exhausted, and coal mine methane capture would support local jobs at well past the life of the mines.
Eligible renewable-energy resources in the existing legislation include solar, wind, geothermal, and methane capture from landfills.blog comments powered by Disqus