Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. A power plant in central China is literally burning money to keep the lights on. The BBC reports:
The plant says one tonne of notes can generate more than 600 kWh of electricity, and is better for the environment than burning coal. The country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, has given permission for the notes to be burned, and says it’s an efficient way to make electricity. With the province’s unused paper money the company “can help generate 1.32 million kWh of electricity annually, which is equal to burning 4,000 tonnes of coal”, a member of staff at the bank tells Xinhua.
We understand that coal represents a major challenge for China, where local air pollution chokes many of the country’s major cities, but burning money as an alternative? That shows commitment. Or perhaps this is a clever form of quantitative easing? Perhaps the U.S. should follow suit, and start chucking dollars in the furnace—energy doesn’t get much greener than that.