Archive for September, 2008

Coal: Part of America’s Blended Energy Solution

This month, Energy
’s featured writer poses another inconvenient truth: we need coal as part of America’s energy solution.

Mark Gabriel, an executive management consultant for R.W.
Beck, carefully lays out the need for America’s coal by looking at our
projected energy demand alongside our means of meeting it, citing a recent
report from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation that shows that
six of 10 U.S. regions will have insufficient electricity capacity by 2009. Says
Gabriel: “No amount of alternative energy can meet the needs in the next 10 to
15 years, even if some huge hurdles such as energy storage are achieved.”

Need a visual? Take a look at this graph, using figures from the EIA’s 2007 Annual Energy Outlook:


Energy Information Administration 2007 Annual Energy Outlook
Electricity demand is expected to increase in the U.S. by 1.7% per year
through 2030 requiring an increase in generating capacity of roughly 30%.

On top of
the cold, hard facts, Gabriel delivers a dose of harsh reality for politicians
and coal opponents:

The current aversion to coal is another clear example that politicians
and the public do not recognize the complex nature of our energy enterprise,
its critical nature and fragility. More than 30 coal plants were canceled or
delayed in the U.S. in 2007 at a time when electricity demand was rising making
the total number of canceled or delayed plants over the past two years to 52.

[T]hese cancellations are
rationalized through the mistaken belief that energy efficiency and renewables
can supplant the baseload generation provided by coal and nuclear as well as an
unrealistic reliance on natural gas, which again topped $10 a million cubic
feet in early April, up from $3 just three years ago.

Gabriel’s article underscores the point we’ve been making
all along: coal needs to be part of the energy conversation. It’s our most
abundant, affordable resource and we couldn’t run the country without it. The
sooner we stop making coal part of the problem and get on board with making it
part of the solution, the sooner we’ll get cleaner technologies to market and
reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources.


The Need for More Power

Here’s a story from Fortune regarding gas shortages in the South.

While I recognize that this particular situation was related to a weather disruption (Hurricane Ike), many experts agree that the high oil prices are clearly the result of growing demand and inadequate supply.  High prices and what we hope for now are temporary supply disruptions could be the harbinger of worse things to come.

But could the same thing also happen with respect to electricity?

Today, electricity demand is growing at twice the rate that we’re adding new capacity. And some groups (along with former Vice President Al Gore) are suggesting that activists take “drastic” measures to prevent the construction on new power facilities that have been granted permits from state and local authorities (and even in some cases have successfully won legal challenges that were lodged by these groups).

The fact is, our electricity needs in this country are growing and we’re going to need new coal-based power plants (along with other energy sources as well). Once people accept the fact that coal will be part of our energy future, we can work together on putting efforts toward supporting R&D for advanced clean coal technologies for carbon capture and storage. That way we can have our cake and eat it too.

Linking security and energy

We said earlier that you can’t talk about national security without mentioning a topic inextricably linked to it: energy independence.

And sure enough… at tonight’s debate, Barack Obama said that we "have to have an energy policy to deal with not just Russia" but other politically volatile and/or unfriendly nations. He mentioned that using American coal can help us become less dependent on foreign energy sources.

To be sure, John McCain agrees. As we’re proud to mention, both candidates know that coal is abundant, affordable and increasingly clean.

Street Teams

Just like at the Democratic and Republican national conventions, we’ve got street teams handing out information about our campaign.

If you look closely, the man in this picture is wearing an Obama hat and a McCain sticker.

As we say, we don’t know who will be running the country, but we know what will: American coal.

CCT at Ole Miss


While here in Oxford, Miss., we ran into Professor Wei-Yin Chen at the chemical engineering department here at the University of Mississippi. He was excited to see our America’s Power campaign on campus.

Professor Chen’s department has been working on advanced technology for the clean burning of coal. His team is in the process of applying for a patent for a new system to further reduce nitrogen oxide during the combustion process.

He is also doing work on reducing carbon dioxide in coal-generating plants.

Already, he has secured over $2 million in federal funds for his bench-scale research.

Remember, there are clean coal technology projects all across the country.

Click here to see what research is taking place near you.

Hello from Mississippi!


Check out our Clean Coal ad on the CNN Express Yourself bus!

We’ve been on the Ole Miss campus all afternoon talking about our commitment to clean coal as a source of affordable, reliable American energy. 

The campus is abuzz as we close in on the first presidential debate tonight at 8P (CST). Tune into hear what the candidates have to say about national security, and check back here for more updates from the road.

National security: What’s coal got to do with it?

The first presidential debate is scheduled for tonight on the theme of national security. Of course, you can’t talk about national security without mentioning a topic inextricably linked to it: energy independence.

From running Wall Street to getting people to the emergency room, we couldn’t maintain our daily operations without energy. And as long as we import energy sources from volatile parts of the world, we’ll remain vulnerable to the fallout of foreign conflicts—including energy shortages and steep energy prices.

Fortunately, we can best address this issue by putting to work our most abundant resource: coal.

We have coal like the Middle East has oil, and currently over 50% of the electricity we use every day comes from American coal. For the past 30 years, we’ve used coal to meet America’s growing energy demands, hold down electricity costs for families and businesses, and improved air quality—making it all the more clear that coal is part of America’s solution for energy independence.

As you watch the debate tonight, remember that our economy and the livelihood of U.S. families depend on a reliable energy infrastructure. We need a president who supports homegrown energy initiatives, funneling money into American energy projects instead of sending it oversees to nations that don’t have our best interest at heart.

The Future

I’ve been reading a few stories this week questioning whether generating electricity from coal will be possible if Congress decides to regulate carbon emissions.

Some people say the future possibility of greenhouse gas emissions reduction policies will mean that coal will have a diminished role in meeting future energy needs.


There is no credible energy forecast that doesn’t show coal use growing both here in the U.S. and around the world.  Meeting our growing energy demand will not be possible without coal (and I challenge anybody to present an accepted scenario that says otherwise).  That is why we believe ensuring the availability of carbon capture and storage technology is so important to meeting our energy supply and environmental goals. 

And I still hear some folks say that ACCCE opposes measures to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Wrong again.

ACCCE supports federal policies to achieve meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the utility sector, provided we simultaneously work to protect energy security and keep energy costs affordable for consumers. Striking this balance will require hard work, but it can be done.   

We see climate change is a global issue requiring leadership by the United States and actions by all nations in a spirit of shared responsibility to devise and carry out practical, cost-effective measures by government, business, and citizens to slow, stop, and then reverse the growth of manmade greenhouse gas emissions.
We know that coal has a big role to play in the future, even with the possibility (even likelihood) of future carbon regulations.

That is why investing in advanced clean coal technologies for the capture and storage of CO2 is so important, and we call upon groups that might not have supported coal R&D in the past to reconsider their position on that point.