Archive for July, 2008

All New Technologies Take Time to Develop

A favorite sound bite from critics of the coal industry is
that CCT and carbon sequestration aren’t viable energy solutions because they
will take too long to develop. When pressed for an alternative, these critics
repeat a mantra of their own: more wind, more solar.

And they’re right. We’re going to need every resource we’ve
got to meet our future energy needs – wind and solar included. But just like
clean coal technology, these renewables also need time for development. As
we’ve discussed here before, we’re a long way from mass implementation of wind
and solar power – there are still some kinks
to work out.

Just this week it was announced that Oregon regulators have approved construction
of a new wind farm
that developers say could be the world’s largest. The only problem? They don’t
know when it will be operational. 

As we said, these things take time.

ACCCE Response to the Huffington Post: Stick to the Facts

The Huffington Post yesterday chose to address workplace safety issues in the U.S. coal mining industry in light of the release of the federal investigative agency’s report on the Crandall Canyon accident and mine safety by posting a blog.  Amazingly they chose to highlight this blog by posting an illustration of a coal miner being crucified, similarly to that of Jesus Christ.

What the Huffington Post is trying so callously to imply is their own personal opinion that the mining industry is not committed to safety.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  If one looks at the facts, one clearly sees that the coal mining industry has made great strides in improving worker safety and, in fact today, has a safety record that rivals the manufacturing, retail, and even health care industries.  That said, everyone agrees that one accident is one too many and that is why the coal industry is committed to further improvements in worker safety aimed at achieving a zero-accident frequency.

We mourn with the families of those nine miners who were taken from us in an untimely fashion. We hope that the Huffington Post will join us in our grief and respect those families by removing this illustration from their site.

The Rising Burden of Energy Costs On Minority Families

Did you know that energy costs for the average U.S. household since 2001 have more than doubled? Or that rising energy costs are disproportionately impacting minority households?

Those are the findings of a new study we released today.

Click here to take a look at the full study.

A Look Back at Al Gore on Meet the Press

A day after Al Gore faced questions from Tom Brokaw on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” let’s look back and see how it went.

As the transcript shows, here are some of Brokaw’s questions and statements:

  • “What you have outlined, in fact, is a goal that may not be achievable.”

  • “What would electricity cost in terms of the transition while it’s under way?  Most estimates are that it would cost a lot more money, and that would have a devastating effect on Main Street and especially on rural America.”

  • “There’s going to have to be some pain, some sacrifice on the part of the American taxpayer, isn’t there?”

Those are good points to bring up. But of course, we had a couple other questions we wish would have been asked too.

Questions for Al Gore on Meet the Press

When I heard that Tom Brokaw will interviewing Al Gore on Sunday’s "Meet the Press," I asked for help coming up with questions to ask the former vice president about his energy plan.

I got some good suggestions and put together what I think are the three most important questions I’d like to see Gore answer. I’ve listed them below, along with questions written by the folks at Gristmill. As you’ll see, we agreed on one question and differed on two others.

Collaborating with Gristmill is a good step toward opening a dialogue that sticks to the facts rather than on baseless accusations.

A joint question for Al Gore from Grist and ACCCE:

1. How did you come up with the year 2018 as a hard-cap goal for total renewable electricity generation? Is that goal scientifically based? What research did you use?

ACCCE questions:

1. Renewables are great — we SHOULD increase their use. But they don’t provide baseload power — that is, we need electricity 24-hours per day, not just during the hours when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. How would you address baseload power concerns?

2. How do you balance your environmental goals with the current economic climate in which Americans cannot afford increases in electricity prices?

Grist questions:

1. What practical measures will we take to get to zero emission electricity in 10 years? Let’s say Congress passes a resolution to aim for carbon-neutral electricity in 10 years, what would be the next step?

2. Is there room in your plan for private investment? Or, would the installation of a modern electric grid become a completely public undertaking?

Seeking Questions for Al Gore

Interested in our opinion on the energy plan Al Gore unveiled yesterday in Washington? Click here for our reaction.

Not everyone can get their questions answered by Al Gore, but Tom Brokaw will on Sunday when he sits down with the former vice president on "Meet the Press."

What questions would you like to have asked of Al Gore? Offer up your suggestions in our comment area.

Later on, we’ll compare your questions with the ones put together by a national environmental blog — I’ll bet some of them are the same!

Coal Walking, part 2

You’ll recall that we went to D.C.’s Capitol Hill in June to talk to people on the street about where
electricity comes from and how they feel about our energy future. That’s how our first Coal Walking video was born.

One of the people we ran into that day was Evie Kirkwood, who turned the microphone on us! The
result was an unrehearsed interview with our senior communications
director, Steve Gates.

Take a look at the video below.

And remember: we’ll be doing more of these Coal Walking videos on the future, so subscribe to our YouTube channel!

New report predicts higher energy bills

We generate electricity from coal at one-third the cost of other fuels. That’s more important now than ever before, given that the federal government estimates that electricity prices will continue to climb to their highest levels.

A report released this week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that due mostly to skyrocketing natural gas prices, average electricity rates will climb an average of 9.8 percent in 2009. (See news story.)

As you can see, we can’t afford to take any energy source off the table, for risk of creating even more demand for natural gas, which would drive up the price further.

Natural gas is a great fuel, but the primary use for natural gas in this country is for residential heating and industrial processes. And the more that we use natural gas as a fuel for electricity generation, we end up driving up the cost of natural gas in those other sectors — as well as paying higher prices for electricity. It’s like a double-whammy. 

In this country, coal is used only to generate electricity. It’s uniquely positioned to do that. And it’s our most affordable option, and thanks to technology … getting cleaner everyday.