PA Consulting Group is a consultancy specialising in management consulting, technology and innovation. It has clients in both the private and public sector including local and national Governments and the defence sector. It has offices in Europe, the Nordics, the United States, the Persian Gulf and Asia Pacific and operates as an employee-owned company. Wikipedia.
Agency: GTR | Branch: ESRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 30.40K | Year: 2013
The concept of ‘International Intervention’ remains largely undefined both in the academic and policy literature. Much Western intervention in the recent period has been characterised under the label of ‘humanitarian intervention’. Put crudely, this describes coercive military intervention to achieve humanitarian ends. This new research seminar series will problematise this narrow definition of intervention. Behind this argument is a judgement that the model of international intervention that has dominated the thinking of Western governments since the end of the Cold War is overly narrow and that as a consequence much intervention has been inappropriate and ineffective.
This project rests on the claim that the study of international intervention has been under-theorised and a more nuanced understanding of processes supporting it requires a multidisciplinary approach. The organising principle for this project is a two-dimensional matrix. One axis is theory versus practice; the other North versus South. Thus the different seminars will be considered on the one hand in terms of what the theory indicates and what the practice delivers, and on the other the extent to which perspectives of intervention differ depending on whether one is intervening or is the target of intervention.
News Article | November 3, 2016
Germany is learning to manage its solar growth, with some growing pains. Over the years, the German government has sharply reduced residential feed-in tariffs (FITs), which initially spurred rooftop solar installations at a pace beyond what German power grids and energy markets can accommodate. Cost has become a problem as well. The FIT is subsidized by a bill surcharge on residential utility customers, which has become less palatable to German consumers. How might these trends shape the future of solar power in the country? “In the past, the main driver of Germany’s significant residential solar growth was that it was an economically feasible way that everyone could invest in renewable energy. Small utilities aggressively promoted it. Now, the economics behind solar investments have become more difficult,” said Marcel Muenz, energy industry advisor with PA Consulting Group. “For Germany’s energy market, this shift is good overall. It brings costs down -- even, over time, for residential customers. Germany had to move away from high subsidies,” said Muenz. “Of course, there will be winners and losers." The FIT remains in place for residential solar in Germany. Utilities will continue to pay households with existing solar installations their agreed-upon rate, which can be as high as €0.52 per kilowatt-hour. However, the FIT for new residential rooftop solar is only about €0.13 per kilowatt-hour -- substantially less appealing to German consumers. Germany’s FIT continues to be funded through a reallocation charge, which appears on every residential utility bill, whether a household has solar installed or not. The federal decision to reduce the FIT was partly in response to public pressure, rooted in the view that non-solar customers were effectively subsidizing solar customers and other renewable generation such as wind farms. “Many people campaigned against the FIT because they saw the reallocation charge on their monthly electricity bill,” said Muenz. According to Muenz, German consumers have paid far more over the years to subsidize nuclear power, which is being rapidly phased out, and will continue paying for nuclear waste treatment for decades. “But the nuclear subsidy never showed up as a line item on their monthly bill,” he noted. This FIT reduction has significantly slowed the growth of residential solar in Germany. Between 2009 and 2013, Germany had added about 7 gigawatts of solar per year. In 2016, that sector will likely grow only 1,200 megawatts to 1,400 megawatts. “Residential solar is no longer economically feasible 100 percent of the time, like it used to be,” Muenz observed. Germany’s energy transition initiative (Energiewende) still includes aggressive targets for adding solar, about 2.5 gigawatts per year. More than half of that growth is coming from utility-scale solar projects. As of January 1, 2017, all German renewable projects larger than 750 kilowatts will be funded through auction mechanisms, which have been tested over the last few years. The subsidies will still be funded by consumers, but the tenders are designed to drop overall costs through increased competition. This auction system appears to be functioning well, and it’s consolidating the formerly fragmented German renewable energy market. Larger utilities are beginning to dominate the new growth in project development. “It used to be that you could just build a solar facility wherever you wanted and you get the FIT, with no competition,” said Muenz. “Now it comes down to winning the tender. Organizations now must make an upfront investment to develop a project.” As such, the auction system works better for bigger utilities. Some large utilities are taking the opportunity to diversify, especially into battery storage. For instance, the German utility RWE, which serves 23 million customers throughout Europe, recently announced an expansion of its grid-scale solar and storage capacity, by purchasing Belectric Solar and Battery Holding GmbH. Similarly, the major German utility E.ON is investing in a U.S. energy storage company, and is developing large-scale storage projects in Germany and elsewhere. But so far, behind-the-meter storage projects are lagging in Germany, despite market potential. Keeping Germany’s overall energy system viable during its transformation will require substantially more market flexibility. “Germany just can’t keep adding renewable energy like crazy,” said Muenz. “There’s a growing need for battery storage, combined gas-steam cycle generators, demand response, energy efficiency, and other established and emerging technologies and strategies to defer distribution investment.” Germany expects to invest €18 billion over the next five to eight years to update and expand grid infrastructure, both for transmission lines and distribution grids, as well as for smart metering and technologies to support advanced strategies such as virtual power plants. This will be funded through grid fees, which all German utility customers (commercial and industrial included) pay for on their utility bill. This fee will increase, but it’s unlikely to be controversial. “I don’t expect consumers to complain about increased grid fees,” said Muenz. “The renewable energy allocation charge was only paid by households and small commercial and industrial consumers. Large customers did not pay it. But the transmission charge is paid by almost everyone, so it’s seen as more equitable. It’s not only divided among more customers, but it’s also proportionate to their kilowatt-hour consumption. So residential customers will see a much smaller increase in grid fees.” Meanwhile, Germany is continuing to invest in wind infrastructure; however, in the north, where wind resources are most abundant, transmission line access is insufficient. Recently, the Guardian reported that the German government has had to cut its original target for wind energy expansion by half in the north. The power grid cannot be expanded quickly enough to supply this energy to the south, which has the greatest demand. This has led to more curtailment, a situation where the state pays wind power producers to switch off their turbines to avoid excess production. Last year, northern Germany produced 4,100 gigawatt-hours of wind power that could not be consumed domestically.
News Article | January 11, 2016
Two MIT undergraduates and one MIT alumna were named Schwarzman Scholars and will be awarded a year of study and leadership training at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Over 3,000 candidates from 135 countries competed for 100 spots in the 2016 inaugural class. Recipients were selected based on rigorous criteria that included not only outstanding academic qualifications but also leadership potential, character, and the desire to understand other cultures. The Schwarzman Scholars program is designed to prepare the next generation of global leaders. It is guided by the philosophy that, “Whether in politics, business, or science, the success of future leaders around the world will depend upon an understanding of China’s role in global trends.” Annabeth Gellman graduated from MIT in 2013 with a degree in civil engineering and a concentration in Mandarin. She currently works as an analyst with PA Consulting Group, where she researches the operational efficiencies of emergency services and medical infrastructure. She hopes to eventually head the international division of a technology company, capitalizing on her prior experience working internationally. Gellman is an active volunteer whose recent service includes tutoring disadvantaged teens with Let’s Get Ready in New York and with Action Tutoring in London. At MIT, she participated in the exchange program with Cambridge University; competed with the varsity fencing team; served as social chair in student government; and taught children in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and China. Alexander Springer is an MIT senior majoring in mechanical engineering. His goal is to produce technologies for the developing world that can transform people’s lives. Springer was recognized by the MIT De Florez Design Competition for his design of an inexpensive voice-activated system to control wheelchairs, a project which he conceived and built from off-the-shelf hardware. Springer has also built an anemia diagnostic device for use in rural Nicaragua to diagnose patients quickly and cheaply, and he built an amphibious bicycle that can travel on land and water. Springer has served as the secretary for the student-run non-profit StartLabs, and created Startup Bash, a business plan competition for MIT and Harvard University students. He is currently the business director for MIT Design for America, which promotes creating social impact through design and engineering. Kelsey Jamieson is a senior majoring in chemical engineering. She plans a future career engineering solutions to the energy crisis and advocating for the environment. Since 2012, Jamieson has been a researcher in MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology, where she helped develop a biomedical tool to sequentially release proteins from films to promote wound healing. Jamieson is the student president of her dorm, New House. During several summers, she has volunteered as a math tutor for academic camp programs for disadvantaged students conducted by her high school alma mater, Philips Academy. In addition to her passion for engineering, Jamieson is a professional harpist and devoted cook.
News Article | August 22, 2016
This month, Apple did something unprecedented in its history. No, it didn't set an iPhone sales record, or launch a new form of artificial intelligence. It was something much simpler -- and to the average consumer, completely invisible. The tech giant now owns hundreds of megawatts of photovoltaics projects in Arizona, California and Nevada. With such a big (and growing) portfolio of projects, Apple needed the ability to sell renewable electricity and grid-balancing services into regional wholesale markets across the country. Federal regulators granted them approval in early August. Thus, Apple Energy was born. The move itself is not unprecedented. Google did the same thing back in 2010 as it ramped up wind investments to supply its offices and data centers. But the birth of Apple Energy comes amidst a radical change in the way large commercial businesses are procuring their power. "It’s all part of this much broader trend that is really starting to pick up," said Dave Cherney, an energy and utilities expert at PA Consulting Group. The Rocky Mountain Institute's corporate renewable energy deal tracker illustrates how dramatically the market has changed in recent years. In 2012, Google was basically the only major buyer in the U.S., accounting for a half-gigawatt worth of wind contracts. The market swelled to 3,230 megawatts in 2015, driven by a much broader group of corporate buyers. Some of those contracts were signed through utility green-tariff programs. But many of the contracts were brokered directly with project owners -- or, in a more recent trend, the projects were owned directly by the corporation itself. On the more extreme end of the trend are full-on corporate customer defections. In Nevada, for example, MGM Resorts recently filed to end its relationship with Nevada Power (just for buying energy; it will still use the utility's poles and wires) in order to go procure renewables on its own. MGM, which represents roughly 5 percent of Nevada Power's demand, is willing to pay an $87 million penalty to buy its own power. Wynn Resorts and the Peppermill Casino have followed suit. "The remarkable thing is that they're clearly willing to pay a premium to do this," said Cherney, referring to the Nevada companies looking to cut ties with their traditional utility suppliers. It's all the more remarkable because Nevada Power's parent, NV Energy, had already created a green tariff program after a large data center company threatened to leave. That didn't seem to be enough for some customers. One assumption to draw from that willingness to pay steep fees: Big companies think they'll be able to get renewable power for cheaper on their own. Cherney and PA Consulting found a trend similar to the one identified by RMI. When looking at non-utility companies, Cherney found roughly 1,500 signed contracts for renewable generation. Renewable procurement in all kinds of markets is picking up pace. "A number of these customers are starting to figure out this space," he said. In a sense, regulated utilities are starting to deal with the same problem that power providers in deregulated markets have long faced: customer churn. Corporations now have more options for buying power straight from third-party renewable energy developers and managing their on-site energy use using third-party tools. That doesn't mean large commercial and industrial customers are just going to walk away en masse, but regulated utilities will most certainly see their relationships with big customers erode -- unless they take a comprehensive approach to rethinking their offerings. "This is larger than simply clean energy. It's about utilities focusing on understanding the customer," said Cherney. The trend also transcends the domain of corporate customers. An increasing number of towns and cities across the U.S. are looking to procure power on their own as well. In a world where nearly every product and service is becoming customizable, utilities are finally being forced by their buyers to create more flexible (and cleaner) offerings. In a recent white paper on the next-generation utility customer, PA Consulting identified the need for a new customer-centric approach to engaging customers. “There is a rich opportunity for utilities to proactively determine their long-term business and customer strategy by taking a horizontal view of customers,” wrote PA. That could mean better segmenting customers and identifying their needs, building new energy service arms, tailoring green tariff programs, and partnering with third parties -- basically, doing anything necessary to give customers what they want. "The next-generation utility is going to think through these new types of demands in a much more detailed way," said Cherney. "What are the reasons customers are trying to defect? What are their needs? It's a new issue for some utilities, and they're wrestling with it." A utility like NV Energy, which is seeing some of its biggest customers defect all at once, can learn from deregulated markets where competitive suppliers have long battled for customers. In a new era of customer choice and cheap renewable energy, anything goes. "This is not a death spiral for a regulated utility like NV Energy, but it is a significant challenge," said Cherney. "It's certainly not an easy thing to wrap your arms around."
News Article | November 25, 2016
PA Consulting launches the results of its eighth annual survey of higher education leaders Most vice-chancellors (58%) regard the domestic market for higher education as a shrinking or static game and 43% think it is likely that there will be significant numbers of institutional failures. Despite this, vice-chancellors mostly don't see risks to their own institutions, according to PA Consulting's survey of higher education leaders. In a shrinking market, any growth must be won at the expense of others and over 76% of vice-chancellors predict significant rationalisation of provision through consolidation, transfers and course closures. The opportunities that do exist for growth are shifting from conventional campus-based study to work-based models of learning such as apprenticeships or online learning as well as transnational provision for overseas students studying at home. Some 70% of vice-chancellors forecast growth of up to 50% in demand for work-based learning, with two-thirds planning to develop new services to address those markets. Competition will however be fierce as institutions grapple for a share of a shrinking market; 25% of vice-chancellors are concerned over the responsiveness of their institution to aggressive pricing and innovative offers from competitors. Some 56% expect new providers such as Pearson College and BPP University to take a sizable share of the market. By taking profitable business from established universities, the challengers are reducing the ability of established universities to cross-subsidise loss-making research or more expensive teaching. Vice chancellors are also deeply worried about the unintended and underlying consequences of changing government policies, including Brexit, visa restrictions, regulatory reforms, the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and changes to research funding. About a half (54%) feel that the TEF will have a beneficial impact but the majority feel that Brexit (70%) and more stringent visa controls (79%) will have an adverse impact on their institution. Paul Woodgates, who leads PA Consulting's higher education consulting services says: "An unprecedented barrage of game-changing policy developments has emerged during 2016 which is reshaping the market for Britain's higher education providers. "In a shrinking market, universities know they cannot rely on government policies to protect their future and are developing their individual strategies for sustainability. However, there will be winners and losers in this new marketised world and it is clear that the rules of the game are now different. Only those universities who take advantage of the opportunities that exist - in overseas recruitment, work-based learning and providing online services - will survive." Mike Boxall, higher education expert at PA Consulting, says: "The underlying structure of the higher education sector is changing quietly, but radically. The big debate ahead is about how to secure financial sustainability as making one-off cuts will not be sufficient. "Universities must rediscover their relevance and value to the things that matter to future students, employers and funders." The survey was undertaken during September and October 2016. We surveyed some 150 vice-chancellors (or equivalent institutional heads), including a number from private and alternative providers, and achieved around a 30% response rate. In addition, we undertook telephone interviews with a large of respondents, which provided additional colour and insights to the survey response and comments. We have included illustrative quotes from survey comments and interviews in the report. An independent firm of over 2,600 people, we operate globally from offices across the Americas, Europe, the Nordics, the Gulf and Asia Pacific. We are experts in consumer and manufacturing, defence and security, energy and utilities, financial services, government, healthcare, life sciences, and transport, travel and logistics. Our deep industry knowledge together with skills in management consulting, technology and innovation allows us to challenge conventional thinking and deliver exceptional results that have a lasting impact on businesses, governments and communities worldwide. Our clients choose us because we don't just believe in making a difference. We believe in making the difference.
News Article | November 17, 2016
SAN DIEGO, Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) today announced that it has been named the winner of the 2016 ReliabilityOne™ National Reliability Excellence Award by PA Consulting Group, Inc. This is the second consecutive year the company has received...
News Article | November 17, 2016
SAN DIEGO and NEW YORK, Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, PA Consulting Group (PA), a global management consultancy, announced that the reliability performance of the nation's power utilities improved for the fourth consecutive year. PA introduced the findings at the 16th Annual...
News Article | November 15, 2016
PA Consulting Group, last week, hosted business leaders of companies participating in the United Nations Global Compact at PA's Cambridge Technology Centre. The attendees participated in a collection of workshops on emerging disruptive technologies and how these could impact sustainability, as part of the 2016 Lead Symposium taking place in Cambridge. As part of a UN Global Compact project to explore ways in which breakthrough technologies could benefit or threaten the Sustainable Development Goals for governments, businesses and society, delegates visited PA to experience disruptive innovation in practise, including technologies associated with: the future of agriculture, the future of connectivity, reinventing manufacturing and PA's own technological developments. PA delivered a keynote address and facilitated workshops looking at how organisations can deliver more sustainable outcomes through breakthroughs in technology and business models that are adapted to tomorrow's economy. Disruptive technologies considered in detail included: Artificial Intelligence, The Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, additive manufacturing, genomics and nutrient recovery from waste. David Rakowski, technology expert, PA Consulting Group said: "This has been a fantastic opportunity for PA to discuss real technologies that will play an important role in the future and unlock new opportunities that previously weren't possible. We recognise that more and more organisations are rethinking how they approach sustainability to deliver maximum value. Technology is a key enabler for this, so we're incredibly pleased to have contributed to helping the delegates understand how to tap this potential." The outcome of the work discussed at the conference will be presented as a report at the UN Global Compact event in Davos in January 2017. An independent firm of over 2,600 people, we operate globally from offices across the Americas, Europe, the Nordics, the Gulf and Asia Pacific. We are experts in consumer and manufacturing, defence and security, energy and utilities, financial services, government, healthcare, life sciences, and transport, travel and logistics. Our deep industry knowledge together with skills in management consulting, technology and innovation allows us to challenge conventional thinking and deliver exceptional results that have a lasting impact on businesses, governments and communities worldwide. Our clients choose us because we don't just believe in making a difference. We believe in making the difference.
News Article | November 17, 2016
NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - November 17, 2016) - Con Edison was recognized by PA Consulting Group, Inc. last night with the 2016 Outstanding System-Wide Reliability Award for the ninth year in a row. Con Edison also received the ReliabilityOne™ Award for Outstanding Reliability Performance in the Northeast Region. "Providing safe and reliable service for all New Yorkers is and will always be our highest priority," said Brian Horton, the company's vice president of Electric Operations in Brooklyn and Queens. "The women and men delivering this service take great pride in powering the world's greatest city and suburban Westchester, and these awards are a gratifying testament to all of their efforts." Starting in 2017, Con Edison will be installing smart meters over a five-year period that will automate new service turn-ons for customers, tell the company when a customer loses power, and virtually eliminate estimated bills. The new meters will bring a host of digital energy benefits, allowing customers to monitor how much energy they are using. These meters also will help customers better control their costs, and embrace new, innovative technologies, like solar. All utilities operating electric delivery networks in North America are eligible for consideration for the ReliabilityOne™ Award. There are a total of six regional awards including Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Plains, West, and Southeast. The selection of provisional recipients is based primarily on system reliability statistics that measure the frequency and duration of customer outages. After provisional recipients are selected, each company undergoes an on-site certification process, which provides an independent review and confirmation of the policies, processes and systems used to collect, analyze and report a company's reliability results. "Technology and innovation can take electric customers' reliability experience to entirely new levels," said Derek HasBrouck, PA Consulting Group's ReliabilityOne™ program director. "Con Edison is among the industry leaders in applying new technologies to benefit customers and demonstrating how innovation can be implemented across the organization to deliver technology's potential to customers today." Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. ( : ED), one of the nation's largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $13 billion in annual revenues and $47 billion in assets. The utility provides electric, gas and steam service to more than three million customers in New York City and Westchester County, New York. For additional financial, operations and customer service information, visit us on the web at www.conEd.com, for energy efficiency rebates and incentives at www.coned.com/energyefficiency, and on Twitter and Facebook. An independent firm of over 2,600 people, we operate globally from offices across the Americas, Europe, the Nordics, the Gulf and Asia Pacific. We are experts in consumer and manufacturing, defense and security, energy and utilities, financial services, government, healthcare, life sciences, and transport, travel and logistics. Our deep industry knowledge together with skills in management consulting, technology and innovation allows us to challenge conventional thinking and deliver exceptional results that have a lasting impact on businesses, governments and communities worldwide. Our clients choose us because we don't just believe in making a difference. We believe in making the difference. For more information about PA Consulting Group, visit www.paconsulting.com. PA's ReliabilityOne™ awards are presented to electric utilities providing their customers with the highest levels of reliability in the industry. PA's ReliabilityOne™ study is based on standard industry reliability statistics that measure the frequency and duration of electric power outages and has been analyzing electric utility performance since 1987. For more information about PA Consulting Group, visit http://www.paconsulting.com/energy.
News Article | November 18, 2016
President-elect Trump has promised to resurrect the coal sector — a move that is possible only if the carbon emissions released by the commodity can be captured and stored. The issue is now getting aired in Marrakech where countries are meeting to discuss how they plan to comply with the Paris climate accord. Coal is not clean. But that does not mean that it could not be made cleaner. And that’s relevant because much of the developing world will remain dependent on coal, as will most developed nations to a lesser degree. At issue then is whether carbon capture and storage is technically possible and if so, at what cost. “Twenty-two countries have submitted climate plans that include a role for advanced coal technologies,” says Benjamin Sporton, chief executive of the World Coal Association, in a telephone interview. “We are in Marrakech to talk about about the role of that technology. It is misguided for people to talk about how to get rid of coal. We need to be part of the solution.” The association says that coal is now about 40% percent of the global electricity mix and that in 2040, it will still be 30%. The central question is thus how to make it cleaner as opposed to how to make it go away. The Asian share of the global coal pie is now about 69% but that will grow to be 77% in 2040. Even China, which will reduce its coal usage from 75% of its electricity portfolio to 49% during this time, will still use 27% more coal because of its anticipated economic expansion. The United States, too, will depend on coal for 25% of electricity in 2040, says the International Energy Agency in Paris. Sporton acknowledges that carbon capture and storage has been an elusive technology but says in the same breath that it remains within reach. To get there, national governments need to place the same emphasis on its development as they have on the expansion of renewables. Green energies, for example, have received $800 billion in federal subsidies while carbon capture and storage has gotten just $20 billion, all over a 10-year time period. “The objective here is to reduce emissions,” Sporton says. “Governments are recognizing that carbon capture and storage has a role to play. This is not something that a lot of environmentalists want to hear. But coal is here for decades to come and they can’t wish it away.” No doubt exists whatsoever that the world is getting warmer, with 17 of the warmest years on record have occurred in the last 18 years, And 2015 was, in fact, the hottest ever and 2016 is on target to surpass that threshold. For those keeping track, carbon dioxide levels surpassed the 400 parts per million level — a 42% increase from pre-industrial levels. The Paris accord aims to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius by mid Century. Failing to do so could have catastrophic environmental consequences, says climate scientists, that include rising tides, aberrant weather conditions and dying coral reefs. Conditions are getting worse in China, where Reuters is reporting nearly a third of the surface water in Shanxi, its biggest coal producing province, is so polluted that it cannot be used by humans. Indeed, coal remains a dirty fuel, now responsible for a third of all manmade carbon emissions and at least double the pollutants of natural gas, or those regulated under the Clean Air Act. The United States and much of the developed world are making headway in the effort to combat carbon emissions and global warming. As for this country, such releases are well below those of a decade ago mainly because of the change-out from coal to natural gas. American Electric Power is now retiring 6,500 megawatts of coal-fired capacity, saying that it will be using natural gas that is just as cheap and that releases fewer carbon emissions. First Energy Corp., meanwhile, has closed several coal plants, which had provided 13 percent of its power and Duke Energy is doing the same: In 2008, the utility generated 70% of its electricity from coal. Now that figure is 42%, and falling. “With the exception of Asia and potentially Latin America, we see coal as continuing on its descending glide path partially due to the Paris accords but more so due to the increasing cost, complexity and financial risk of building such facilities,” says Mark Repsher, an energy expert at PA Consulting Group. “Also, the potential proliferation of the lower cost of natural gas supply across the globe” will have the same effect. “Certainly, the new (Trump) administration may push out some retirements if current and pending environmental regulations are canceled or delayed, but this will only delay the inevitable for more marginal coal-fired facilities,” he adds. “It is unlikely to change the calculus when deciding whether to pursue new coal-fired resources.” But coal use will still exists in the United States, as it will elsewhere around the globe. China’s National Energy Association expects a 20% pop over five years there. Even Germany, bent on expanding renewables, says it will still have a role, as does Japan, which ask why it can’t be used more “efficiently.” What then is the alternative to current coal technologies? Coal gasification plants scrub the mercury, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide before they would separate the remaining byproducts: carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen, which could be used to power everything from cars to power plants. The power sector’s biggest such project went live at Boundary Dam in Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada on October 2, 2014. And, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Southern Company said that they had completed an initial demonstration phase of carbon capture at Southern’s coal-fired Plant Barry in Alabama, which was able to recover more than 90 percent of the carbon dioxide, send it through a 10-mile pipeline, and inject it underground. But Southern’s oil enhancement Kemper project in Mississippi is $4 billion over budget and two years overdue. If there is a market for advanced coal generation, Southern would like to sell its coal gasification technologies, says Tom Fanning, chief executive of the utility, in previous talks with this writer. The company, he adds, would license the tools to capture and bury carbon, or use them to enhance oil recovery. Fanning is talking with China, although he is open to introducing other nations to the concept — a technology that he says will eventually be cost effective and as clean as a natural gas plant. (Even Southern, however, has reduced its coal holdings in the United States from 70% of its electric generation mix to 47%.) Doable? “To reach the 2 degree Celsius target, we need to implement carbon capture and storage not just on coal but also on natural gas and other industrial applications,” responds the World Coal Association’s Sporton. “But we need to see more policy action at the national level.” Given that the world will still burn coal, the goal should be to make it as a clean as possible. Environmentalists may cringe. But the alternative is unadulterated emission levels that lead to higher temperatures. With a little help, advanced coal technologies could provide some relief.