Coal reigns supreme as alternatives fail to deliver on promise.

Utilities in the US are putting up scores of conventional coal plants that will only ensure that the thermal power industry retains its position as the largest industrial source of climate-changing gases for years to come.

According to an Associated Press study of Energy Department records and information from utilities and trade groups more than 30 traditional coal plants have come up since 2008 or are under construction.

The construction wave, which runs across the country comes even as public concern grows over high environmental and social costs of fossil fuels, with the gulf oil spill and mine disasters in West Virginia. 

The expansion, according to analysts is the largest in two decades and points to the fact that the 'clean-coal technology' will likely take a long time coming.

The expansion also underlines a growing confidence among utilities that carbon emission regulation proposals will fail.

The US Senate last month had to scrap a bill aimed at cutting carbon emissions following opposition from Republicans and Democrats of the coal states.