Archive for February, 2008

Gone With The Wind


In the past, when I’ve pointed out the problem of an overly optimistic
reliance on intermittent power resources like wind, some of you have
suggested that I’m bashing wind power.

I’m not.

I support wind and other renewables, and I’ve said many times that
we’re going to need all of our available domestic energy resources to
help meet our nation’s growing energy demands. But for those who think
wind or solar can replace coal and other fuels used to meet base load
power demand, I think it’s worth pointing out what happened this week
in Texas.

If you haven’t heard, part of the electricity grid in Texas had to
cut power to some offices and factories on Wednesday when there simply
wasn’t enough of a breeze to for the wind turbines to generate energy.

As the Wall Street Journal writes: “the state is coming to grips with one of wind power’s biggest problems: the power flows only when the wind blows.”

As we have noted before, wind power is great, but it can perform only
when conditions are just right. That’s why it can help out at times but
cannot be relied upon for 24/7 power. Coal is different – it can be
used to generate electricity regardless of whether there is enough

So the lesson to be learned is that this isn’t a choice between coal
(and other traditional energy resources) or renewables (wind and solar)
– it is a matter of using both.


Governors Realize Benefits Of Clean Coal


The National Governors Association held its winter meeting in
Washington, D.C., and given everything that is going on with concerns
about rising energy costs and the economy, it stands to reason that the
topic of coal came up. Several key governors were talking about the key
role coal will play in America’s energy future.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) told the nation’s governors:
"Next-generation coal is going to need to continue to be part of our
energy future for this country. It is abundant, it is available, it is
Americanized in the sense that we control the supply. We would be
incomplete and doing a disservice to the debate and the ultimate policy
direction that we’re going to take if we don’t envision coal being part
of that."

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell (D), D-Pa., envisions an economic
turnaround if clean-coal technology takes off. "Coal states would be
back in business big time and the economies would flourish," said
Rendell, the association’s vice chairman.

And, if any of you doubt me when I say that all energy resources
(including coal) have both their pluses and minuses, it helps that
Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana (D) said essentially the same
thing. Coal "has a CO2 problem, wind has a reliability problem, solar
has a price problem, nukes have a price and radiation problem,"
Schweitzer said. "So all of those technologies have opportunities. but
they all have problems — coal’s no different."

The one thing we know for sure, is that we’re working on the
technologies to reduce CO2 emissions, just like we have with other
emissions that are currently regulated under federal and state clean
air laws. You’ve heard me say it before, and I’ll say it again: there
has never been an environmental challenge facing the coal-based
electricity sector for which technology didn’t provide the ultimate
solution. Meeting the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the
utility sector is not going to be the exception to that rule.

Bottom line, it’s good to see folks recognize that coal HAS to be a part of meeting America’s future energy needs.




On the campaign trail in Athens and Lancaster, Ohio



Note: While ABEC does not endorse any of the presidential
candidates, we are stopping by as many campaign events as we can to
spread the message of our commitment to clean.

Our third day in Ohio was extremely successful — and still extremely
cold. We started the day in Athens, where former President Clinton was
speaking on behalf of his wife Hillary.

The event grew a crowd of about 500-700 people. The line started
extremely early and we were able to spend over an hour and a half
canvassing the crowd. Our shirts, hats, and pens were a huge hit as was
our discussions about clean coal.

We handed out over 150 shirts, 100 hats, over 400 pens and tons of
campaign print material. We heard many different stories of people
whose fathers or brothers or that they themselves worked in the mines.
While their stories varied, one thing was consistent—they all supported
clean coal.

We were also able to touch base with some of the local media. We dropped by Athens News before the event and were able to speak with their reporter at the event. We also stopped by the Athens Messenger and WOUB radio to talk about the clean coal mission.


Value Of A Public-Private Partnerships Becoming More Apparent

Seems we’re not the only ones who recognize the importance of a
partnership between private industry and the federal government to
bring new, advanced energy technologies to the marketplace.

According to Greenwire,
General Electric Co. CEO Jeffrey Immelt addressed the National
Governors Association this week and said: "We can’t allow this to be a
coal-state versus non-coal-state, winners and losers. The notion that
it [coal] is not going to be part of the future is just not right."

The article continues:

Immelt said the government must play a major role to help
spur development of advanced coal technologies. The first wave of
technologies will be more expensive as industry moves down the
"learning curve" to reduce costs, he said.

The first 10 to 12 plants must move forward under some form of
"national framework" — he did not provide specifics — in order to
spur the low-carbon coal technologies into the marketplace, he said.

GE, which is known for its Ecoimagination campaign, has a staked
interested in all energy technologies, including wind, solar, natural
gas, nuclear power and coal. For more information on GE’s advanced
clean coal focus, here’s information on the IGCC plant near Tampa,
Florida. (See here.)

The Latest from Lancaster




Note: While ABEC does not endorse any of the presidential
candidates, we are stopping by as many campaign events as we can to
spread the message of our commitment to clean.

Here’s the latest dispatch from our team in Ohio:

After we hit the Athens local media outlets, we quickly headed to
Lancaster which is about a 45 minute drive. Luckily for us, Bill
Clinton was running late so the more than 600 people in attendance were
lined up and anxious.

We were able to provide them with good reading material and
conversation for their wait in line. Everyone loved the pens and
stickers like usual, but they were all extremely talkative and informed
about coal. It is clear that Ohioans have a long history with the coal
industry and understand its importance.

We were even able to provide some warmth to a little boy in need (see
picture). It was a very successful day spreading the word about coal’s
impact on Ohio!.

Our Clean Coal Team Visits The Ohio River



Louisville’s Polar Bear Plunge is a strange tradition. It’s an annual
fundraiser for Special Olympics in which a couple thousand people
committed to charity – or in much more need of actually being
committed! – jump into the Ohio River.

Luckily for the cold participants, we provided them with a handy "Clean Coal" t-shirt to wear when they popped out of the water.

We handed out about 1,300 t-shirts in two hours at this event



Hello from Colorado!


Here’s what we’ve been doing in Colorado the last few days: We went to
the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and talked to airmen, cadets
and their family about the benefits of clean coal. Everyone we spoke
with was very receptive of our message and concerned about the national
security benefits of supporting American coal.

From there we left for the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, where
Executive Director David Carroll was excited to see us and said he is
considering incorporating a new exhibit to promote clean coal. He asked
us for a bundle of literature and shirts to pass out to tour groups
that come daily. It is rewarding to speak to someone who is so
passionate about the cause and educating the public!
Our next stop was Pike Peak Community College, where we spoke with over 20 students, including a writer for the school paper The Potty Mouth, who offered to distribute our materials to the school’s Ramport Range, Downtown Studio and Centennial satellite campuses.

Next, we visited students at the Colorado State University campus at
Pueblo. We also talked to people at the courthouse and City Hall.

Thanks, Colorado, for participating in the dialog about America’s energy future!


Dispatch from Cleveland, Ohio

Posted by: 
Joe Lucas    




Note: While ABEC does not endorse any of the presidential
candidates, we are stopping by as many campaign events as we can to
spread the message of our commitment to clean.

We came to Barack Obama’s rally at the Cleveland Convention Center and
capitalized on the Obama fervor by handing out clean coal materials to
his long line of supporters.

All of the attendees were extremely receptive and eagerly took our handouts, t-shirts and hats — we gave out over 400 shirts.