(Clean coal stock story updated with new data on coal versus clean energy stocks and Arch Coal's winning bid for state coal lease.)NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- There has been much discussion in recent years of the demise of coal as an electric-power source, given the burgeoning clean-energy alternatives like solar power and wind power, and the expected clean-air legislation that many believe will hit the coal industry where it hurts. Or not. Indeed, recent coal-company news suggests that coal companies themselves are actively looking (better late than never?) for legitimate clean-coal technologies, which might enable coal to remain relevant as a future source of electric power. In his State of the Union address, President Obama spoke about the creation of more clean energy jobs by way of continued investment in clean coal technologies, among other channels. Obama is moving forward with these plans even as their viability is questioned and environmental groups are pushing hard for the complete eradication of coal power. The Sierra Club, for example, envisions displacing of 100,000 megawatts of old coal by 2018 and the remaining 200,000 megawatts by 2030, calling for a 5% a year reduction in the tons of coal burned from 2010 to 2030 at operating plants. Regardless, the U.S. Department of Energy on March 9 announced up to $154 million for a carbon capture and storage project in Texas, to "help demonstrate advances in clean coal efforts." The NRG Energy project ( NRG) was selected for this funding under the third round of the Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI), a cost-shared collaboration between the federal government and private industry to demonstrate low-emission carbon capture and storage technologies in advanced coal-based, power generation. Once captured, the carbon dioxide will be compressed and used in enhanced oilfield recovery operations, according to NRG. NRG will construct a 60 megawatt carbon capture demonstration facility, in a six-year project, at the company's W.A. Parish Unit 7 in Thompsons, Texas.
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