Bloomberg Law
Jan. 5, 2018, 7:37 PM

Too Cold for Coal? Utilities Learning Lesson of Polar Vortex

Stephen Lee
Stephen Lee

Utilities are fighting to keep their coal from freezing in the cold, hoping to avoid a repeat of what happened during the 2014 polar vortex.

For coal boosters, the cold snap offers a chance to support Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s argument that coal-based generators should be subsidized because their fuel is always ready to go.

Four years ago, however, supply problems troubled the industry because many coal piles froze solid. Most of the anti-freezing techniques companies are using now aren’t new, like sprays and bulldozers, even if they haven’t always been widely used.

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