There is no shortage of absurdities in our world.  In the first presidential debate last week, Gov. Mitt Romney added two more.  “I like coal. I’m going to make sure we continue to burn clean coal. People in the coal industry feel like it’s getting crushed by your policies,” Romney said to President Obama in Wednesday’s debate.

First, there is no such thing as clean coal.  Clean coal is a trade term to describe methods and technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal to generate electric power. Although I am not currently involved in any clean coal projects, I have spent a fair amount of my time in the electric utility industry.

Clean coal, as the name implies to the masses who were listening to the debate, is an oxymoron.  Not only is there no clean coal now, there is no practical technology on the horizon that will produce electricity by burning coal in a manner than is cost competitive and eliminates emissions.

Nonetheless investors in utilities that still use coal such as American Electric Power (AEP),  Edison International (EIX), and Southern Company (SO) were encouraged.  Coal stocks such as (ANR) and (BTU) moved up.

A bigger absurdity came when Romney told Obama, “But don’t forget, you put $90 billion, like 50 years’ worth of breaks, into—into solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and Ener1. I mean, I had a friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers, all right? So this—this is not—this is not the kind of policy you want to have if you want to get America energy secure.”….Read more at Forbes