CARBONDALE, Ill. _ An enormous gap exists between public perceptions and reality concerning the importance of coal to the nation's energy mix, a Kerr-McGee Corp. official said in a speech at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
Citing a 1993 survey by the respected Wirthlin group, Robert C. Scharp, president of Kerr-McGee Coal Corp., said that less than one in five Americans believe that coal is used as fuel to generate as much as 25 percent of the nation's electricity.
"In reality, coal is used to fuel 56 percent of our country's electric power supply," he said.
"Most people believe that other fuels such as oil, solar, hydro, nuclear and natural gas produce most of our electric power," Scharp said. "That's just not the case. In fact, none of them fuels as much as 25 percent of the nation's electric power.
"Coal's closest competitor is nuclear energy, which fuels about 23 percent of our electricity. Natural gas and hydro comprise about 9 percent each, while solar and all the other `exotic' fuels add virtually nothing to the nation's generating fuel mix."
In conjunction with the nationwide effort to increase clean coal technology, a new Coal Utilization and Research Center has been established in Carterville, Ill. Ground breaking ceremonies for the $18 million "mild gasification" project, in which Kerr-McGee, based in Oklahoma City, is a participant, were Saturday, Scharp said. …