We’ve been following the ongoing battle over coal in Kansas closely. (The latest is that Gov. Sebelius vetoed a bill that would have moved the plants forward and prevented her KDHE secretary from blocking future plants.)

Today brings an interesting development. A new report from a leading financial research firm, Innovest, comes to a blunt conclusion: building the plants would put Kansas ratepayers at substantial and ongoing risk. They would be saddled with long-term, unpredictable-but-rising costs.

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Or, put another way: coal is not cheap.

It’s somewhat startling that this is the first independent financial analysis that’s been done of the plants, but the conclusion isn’t surprising. As we’ve said a million times on this site, coal’s apparent cheapness is a chimera, a fragile artifact of a number of factors that are rapidly changing.

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I’m under the gun today, so I don’t have time to get deep into the report. For that, I urge you to check out David Sassoon’s rundown.