Archive for December, 2008

Britain says yes to new coal-generated power plants

British Energy Secretary Ed Miliband said his country
will continue to build new coal-generated power plants
with an eye toward
retrofitting those new coal plants with carbon capture and sequestration
technology when those technologies are fully operational.

"I will
not take a position which ignores our security of supply needs,” Miliband told
the Financial Times. He also stressed the need to drive the technology
into new plants "as quickly as we can.”

Secretary
Miliband has the right idea here. In fact, we’ve stressed the same thing since
the beginning.

America needs
to continue to build new coal plants because new plants create a market for
advanced clean coal technologies. And that
means supporting additional funding for clean coal technology programs – especially
carbon capture and storage projects.

We’re going
to need all of our available energy resources – wind, solar, nuclear and coal
– to meet future energy needs. We'll also need to continue to promote energy
efficiency, but at the end of the day coal use will continue to grow both here
at home and around the world in order to meet electricity needs. 

There has
never been an environmental challenge facing the coal-based electricity sector
for which technology has not provided the ultimate solution. In fact, today’s
coal-generated power fleet is 77 percent
cleaner than ever before
, and we're moving forward with new technologies
that can be used to retrofit new and existing coal plants to meet requirements
to capture and safely store CO2


What a great ad on CNN.com!

I was reading the latest headlines on CNN.com a moment ago when I saw a flash ad by GE.

In the ad, GE Vice Chairman John Krenicki says,”The only way to solve the energy challenge is through technology.”

He says that the solution will be in technology investments in “biomass, renewables, natural gas, nuclear, cleaner coal, subsea exploration, cleaning up water…”

After watching the ad, I have to say… I agree. We’re going to need all of our domestic resources to meet the rise in electricity demand. I would add, of course, that our most abundant fuel source, coal, is going to continue to play a key role in meeting the energy challenge.

Note: General Electric Capital Corporation is a member of our organization.


Clean coal two-for-one

A public-private partnership including a research center at Virginia Tech
University and a geological firm are literally digging into
the issue of storing carbon emissions
from coal-based electricity.


The Virginia carbon sequestration project will inject carbon dioxide
(CO2) into 300 million-year old rock strata, which will permanently hold the
CO2 and keep it from entering the atmosphere. What’s more, the entrapment of
CO2 in the rock strata is believed to aid in the release of natural gas trapped
in coal seams—another domestic energy source.

“When we inject the carbon dioxide into the Mississippian aged coal
deposits that were deposited 260-340 million years ago, the CO2 will stay there
permanently,” said Marshall Miller, CEO of Marshall Miller and Associates, the
geological firm participating in the joint venture. “The good situation is that
out from the coal seam comes a gas, CH4, (methane) that gives you additional
fuel.”

2009 looks like it will be an exciting
year for science, technology and innovation in the U.S.

Check
out the clean coal
technology map
to learn about the clean coal projects happening near
you.


Clean coal projects all over America










It’s
apparent that the creators of the Reality Coalition TV spots didn’t spend much
time locating current clean coal technology projects before
declaring them nonexistent. After all, we have a map of
them
right here on our Web site. (And remember, ‘clean coal’ refers to more than just carbon capture and sequestration.)

The projects include a host of CCS pilot-level projects (hey, you have to run
before you can walk), many of which are co-funded by the coal industry and the
government. Of course, if this is going to be a battle of absolutes, I guess it
should also be noted that there isn’t a single commercial scale wind or
solar project capable of replacing baseload fuels like coal.

On a related
note, I noticed that our friends at the Reality Coalition attributed a
(selective) quote of mine on their web site. While I did state that we
currently lack a commercial-scale CCS project in the U.S., I went on to say
that there are several live pilot-scale demonstration projects in the U.S., and
that the first commercial-scale project is set to launch in 2009. I guess
accuracy in the media isn’t what it used to be.

 But here’s a
complete, accurate quote for you from former Vice President, Nobel-laureate and
Academy Award-winner Al Gore, talking about the importance of CCS to a group of
students at New York University
:

 Fortunately,
there may be a way to capture the CO2 produced as coal is burned and sequester
it safely to prevent it from adding to the climate crisis. It is not easy. This
technique, known as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is expensive and
most users of coal have resisted the investments necessary to use it. However,
when the cost of not using it is calculated,
it becomes obvious that CCS
will play a significant and growing role as one of the major building blocks of
a solution to the climate crisis.

So I guess I
don’t understand—the environmental groups following a person who believes clean
coal technology can help prevent climate change are the same groups that oppose
the clean coal projects they claim don’t exist?


Listen to the IPCC — it’s time to take a deep breath

Today, I'll dispel a myth about addressing climate change concerns. Some people say that if it takes 10-15 years for power plants with carbon capture and storage to come online, it will be too late.

Well, maybe they need to check again.

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said this week that there is no clear evidence that climate change represents an immenent danger to the world.

Don't start hyper-ventilating! I'm just using Dr. Puchauri's comments show that we don't have to run around with our hair on fire. We've got time to bring new technologies to the marketplace to capture and store CO2, and we should be having a discussion about that.

Our industry is serious about bringing new advanced technologies for carbon capture and storage to the point of widespread deployment. Need convincing? Look take a look at the map of demonstration projects that the industry is already helping to fund.

Moreover, as we increase funding for all energy research and development programs, we say that there needs to be additional dollars set aside to match the industry's investment in bringing this new generation of new clean coal technologies into the marketplace. That stands in stark contrast to other groups, which have consistently opposed additional funding for advanced coal research and development.

So let's get focused on what we know: coal use both here in the U.S. and around the world will continue to grow, meaning that reducing CO2 emissions will require new advanced clean coal technologies. And according to the head of the IPCC, we've got time to bring those technologies to the marketplace (and nobody is saying we should delay!).

So the key question is, will you join us in that endeavor?


Home for the Holidays

We had
fun this week with the Clean Coal Carolers and hope you enjoyed them. They did a nice job singing about how coal has become cleaner over the last few decades and about all the clean coal technology projects taking place across the country.

Now it's time for them to head home for the holidays.

Season’s greetings from America’s Power!

I invite you to take a look at our newest TV ad in which we tout our support for Barack
Obama’s call to invest in America’s energy future – including
investments in clean coal.


Marketing Battle is No ‘David vs. Goliath’

Yesterday, one of my blog readers chimed in to say that he thought I'm being "dismissive" of environmental groups. He also wrote that the America's Power campaign has more money to spend on marketing than the major environmental groups.

I responded in the comment area, but for those who didn't see it… I'll paste it below. Here was my response:

Ben:

I do appreciate your comment and honestly try very avoid the direct confrontation.

I consider myself an environmentalist — I think we all do.

However, with respect to your claim that we have more resources, I beg to differ. In 2008, the Alliance for Climate Protection was reportedly ready to spend $100 million on their campaign efforts (and that was just one group). 

Now, I don't know what they will actually end up spending, but this is definitely not David vs. Goliath as your comment suggests. 

But again, I agree with you — this is not a "we" versus "them" dialogue. In the end, I do believe we all want the same thing: affordable, reliable energy (with as much of that being supplied by domestic energy resources as possible) and a clean environment. 

I promise to do better (and Megan will help me!) keep my passion about these issues in check. 

Thanks for calling me out on that one.


Can we Debate our Energy Future, not Hymnology?

The Clean
Coal Carolers
are
getting a lot of attention around the Internet this week. I'm not
surprised that people who don't think coal has any place in America's
energy future don't seem to appreciate the clean coal carolers.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, for example, didn't like the the use of "Silent Night" in our original group of songs.

I'll put my years as a Sunday school teacher, church deacon and church musician up against just about anybody else when it comes to understanding hymnology and respect for religious traditions.

That said, before we even received one response to our blog, we decided to remove the "Silent Night" tune from the Clean Coal Caroler feature.

That's not to say that we agree with Rachel Maddow's claim that it was inappropriate. It is merely a recognition that the facts of promoting energy independence, keeping energy costs affordable and investing in new technologies to make coal an even cleaner energy option is so important, we don't want there to be any impediment for getting that message out.

But remember that this cuts both ways. So you might want to be sure that we'll make our list and check it twice for things we might find offensive too.