A futurist says Missourians can talk all they want about a new nuclear power plant, or construction of new wind farms—but Missouri’s energy future is in coal.

Penn State University professor Frank Clemente teaches a course in Social Problems of the Future, and says energy demand is one of the big ones. Peabody Coal has sent him to meet with members of the state senate looking at major issues facing the state. He says access to electricity is the key to progress but the worldwide demand for it is unprecedented.

Clemente says clean coal technology is critical to meeting increasing demand here…and throughout the world. He says Missouri’s coal has potential but needs that technology. He says it’s high sulfur level discourages its use. But he says carbon capture and storage are developed, and as coal conversion to synthetic fuels develop, Missouri’s coal will become more valuable.

He says 85 percent of Missouri’s electricity comes from coal-fired generating plants. Clemente says natural gas is not an economical alternative. He says Missouri’s socio-economic infrastructure cannot absorb the electric rate increases that would come with decreased use of coal.

Senators also have heard from nuclear and wind interests.


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