Archive for November, 2010

Secretary Chu: Clean Coal Must Be Part Of Plan To Accelerate Innovations In Clean Energy

Yesterday, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu delivered a speech to the National Press Club in Washington, DC, urging more investments in energy research and development so that we can both compete and work with other countries, like China, on advanced clean energy technologies. Chu calls this a “Sputnik Moment” for the United States, a critical point where the public and private sectors must work together to provide clean and abundant sources of energy to power our economy.

Chu makes three important points:

  • For the past two decades, China has successfully developed clean coal technologies with supercritical and ultra-supercritical coal-fueled power plants, and has successfully commercialized them on a very large scale.
  • This success is why the Department of Energy is investing in methods to make advanced clean coal technologies, like carbon capture and storage, more affordable so that they can also be successfully commercialized.
  • All of this depends on a long term, bipartisan energy policy and continued investment into energy research and development.

Watch Chu make these three very important points in this video:

Secretary Chu is right: “Wealth creation is driven by innovation.” And the innovations that have been made in clean coal technologies by the coal-based electricity industry of the past few decades gives us a great foundation for the industry to develop tomorrow’s innovations in carbon capture and storage, technologies that can use one of our most abundant and affordable sources of energy as a part of this country’s clean energy future.

Bipartisanship on Energy Can Happen Sooner Rather than Later

With the election over and Congress in the middle of a lame duck session, there are many economic and fiscal issues on the table for members of the House and Senate to consider. One issue that directly ties into America’s economic security can bring Democrats and Republicans together, even in this lame duck session: the issue of investing in our energy security and advanced clean coal technologies.

ACCCE on Flickr
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) has sponsored legislation to make sure that regulations Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t hamper the use of coal as a source of baseload power and the development of clean coal technologies. As reported by today’s Politico Morning Energy:

Rockefeller said he’d still like to get a two-year timeout on the EPA regulations “because it gives CCS a little bit more time to make a beachhead, and that’s what gets rid of 90 to 95 percent of carbon.” … Rockefeller said CCS would be just fine without any limits. “We already have two massive CCS projects in our state, mostly state and locally funded, corporate funding. … And you see, you don’t have to answer that question. You just have to show there’s a way to make coal totally clean. Ninety-five percent is cleaner than nuclear. You have to be able to show that. So that’s my basic reason for it.”

Rockefeller’s counterpart, newly elected and sworn-in Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) echoed his senior senator:

“Energy is energy, you gotta have energy,” [Manchin] said yesterday. “And what’s producing the most energy today at the cheapest price?” POLITICO guessed coal. “You got it.” he said. Clean coal “is the only way the country can move forward.”

Republicans want to move quickly on bipartisan legislation that would move enhance our energy security. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) again touted clean coal technologies as an area of agreement between his party and President Obama in a post for The Hill’s Congress Blog:

When we return from the Thanksgiving break, Republican and Democrat leaders will have the opportunity to discuss priorities with the president in a meeting at the White House. I’m looking forward to that meeting, and to the opportunity to share with the president, again, the areas where we agree … I agree with the president that we should increase our exploration of clean coal technology and nuclear energy.

And the fact remains that investments in clean coal technologies not only provide economic, energy and environmental security. They also provide a great return on investment for taxpayers: for every $1 government invests in these technologies, the American people see $13 in benefits. We’re glad to see more bipartisan agreement on coal-based electricity and we look forward to a growing partnership between the public and private sector that’s already making coal a part of our clean energy future.

Where’s the “Real Progress” on Advanced Clean Coal Tech? The Atlantic’s Editor-in-Chief Explains

It seems like almost every week there’s news about U.S. and Chinese advancements in clean coal technologies. As two of the largest economies in the world, our countries have formed a strong partnership to develop these technologies so we can enjoy the economic benefits of a reliable, affordable energy base while reducing emissions. This relationship between America and China is growing stronger, especially with yesterday’s announcement that the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center has now been put into operation with more than $150 million in initial funds. This comes on the heels of Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s visit to the largest power plant in Shanghai yesterday, which is using a demonstration carbon capture facility to trap and use carbon dioxide emissions for commercial use.


Today on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” James Bennet, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, discussed the fact that coal accounts for nearly half of America’s power and that there’s “real progress” on advanced clean coal technologies like carbon capture and storage, being developed here and in China, allowing power plants to reduce emissions while using one of the world’s most reliable sources of energy.

The story is explained in depth in The Atlantic’s cover story this month, by James Fallows. Fallows outlines coal’s importance in securing a future in which our energy is clean, sustainable and affordable. According to him, coal can and must be used through clean coal technologies if we are to have any hope of achieving energy and environmental security:

“[T]wo ideas that underlie the term [clean coal] are taken with complete seriousness by businesses, scientists, and government officials in China and America, and are the basis of the most extensive cooperation now under way between the countries on climate issues. One is that coal can be used in less damaging, more sustainable ways that it is now. The other is that it must be used in those ways, because there is no plausible other way to meet what will be, absent an economic or social cataclysm, the world’s unavoidable energy demands.”

If you’re a long-time reader of Behind the Plug, you know that with industry and government’s investments, capital and human resources, we are reaching toward commercial-scale carbon capture and storage technologies. People like Dan Connell of Consol Energy are implementing technology that will help reduce emissions, while securing affordable energy and good jobs for our children and grandchildren.

The Coal Wire: CCS a Vital Technology of Domestic & International Importance

TheCoalWireThis week, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu is travelling to China and Japan to meet with officials in the private and public sectors to discuss where partnerships can be formed for the research, development and deployment of clean energy technologies.

In the Huffington Post yesterday, Sec. Chu describes the potential that lies ahead in working with China and Japan on issues of energy and environmental security, how it affects America’s economy, and what role carbon capture and storage technologies can play:

China and Japan have made significant commitments to invest and develop the next generation of clean energy technologies. We need to work closely with both countries, or risk falling far behind in the race for the jobs of the future …

I am also looking forward to learning more about the clean energy investments and scientific efforts underway in Asia that can help inform our efforts in the United States. For example, I will be touring Huaneng Power’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Shanghai, the world’s largest CCS project to date. This technology is vital to both the United States and China, and international cooperation will be an essential ingredient to our success.

In this edition of The Coal Wire, we highlight some clean coal technology investments being made here and abroad, to help lead many nations into a clean energy future:$91 Million in Clean Coal Grants (11/15): “Three state companies have secured a total of $91.3 million in clean coal grants from the U.S. Department of Energy for advanced technologies in capturing and storing carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion. The first grant—$71 million—went to Eltron Research and Development Inc. in Boulder. It is the largest grant to a Colorado company under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and will be used to decrease development time by approximately 3 years of a hydrogen transport membrane technology to cost-effectively separate hydrogen from shifted coal-derived syngas. Another $15 million was awarded to ADA Environmental Solutions in Littleton to fund a 1 MW-equivalent gas flow plot-scale test unit to evaluate advanced sold sorbent CO2 capture technology. The third grant, $5 million went to North American Power Group in Greenwood Village and will finance the Two Elk Energy Park Carbon Site Characterization Project.”

New Energy and FuelCatching CO2 at Low Cost (11/8): “The TU Darmstadt’s Institute for Energy Systems and Technology’s newly dedicated pilot plant will be utilized for investigating two new methods for CO2 capture that will allow nearly totally eliminating CO2 emissions and require virtually no additional energy input and entail only slight increases in operating costs. Known as carbon capture and storage or CCS the new pilot plant might be able to reduce CO2 emissions resulting from the employment of fossil fuels for power generation and other uses in industry to near zero and make available a product for reuse and sales.”

The Associated PressDubai Eyes ‘Clean Coal,’ Nuclear as Power Sources (11/10): “A senior energy official says Dubai aims to generate 20 percent of its power from ‘clean coal’ and another fifth from nuclear energy in the coming years … The Emirates’ federal government is spending $20 billion to build the country’s first nuclear power plant in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Al-Tayer wouldn’t say whether Dubai would rely on that project — slated to be completed by 2020 — for its nuclear energy. ‘Clean coal’ technology aims to reduce coal’s harmful emissions.”

For more information on clean coal technologies at work and being developed, check out our Factuality Tour where I travel across the country to talk with plant engineers, scientists and public officials about the benefits of coal-based electricity.

Looking Back: This Summer in Clean Coal Technology

This summer and early fall was an exciting time for us here at the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. We had outreach teams visiting communities across the country, and meeting college students, small business owners, and elected officials.


During this time, we also saw the White House affirm the importance of developing clean coal technology, while National Energy Awareness month reminded us to consider how we get the electricity that we depend on almost every hour of every day.


Check out our updated to catch the highlights of the past few months. And make sure to like America’s Power on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. As we race toward 2011, there are sure to be more updates and breakthroughs in clean coal technology as we continue reducing emissions from coal-based electricity.





India Latest to Join U.S. Commitment to Clean Coal Technology

On the heels of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announcing a $500,000 grant to the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute in Australia, President Obama recently traveled to India where he participated in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh discussing various issues, including how America and India can work together to build a clean energy future.

As reported by Environment News Service, Prime Minister Singh reiterated the close relationship our two countries have built on energy issues, with the start of the Join Clean Energy Research and Development Center and their focus on clean coal technologies:

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said, “We have announced specific initiatives in the areas of clean energy, health and agriculture. These include a Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Centre, the establishment of a Global Disease Detection Centre in India and an agreement for cooperation in weather and crop forecasting.” The concept of a joint clean energy R&D center to be located in India was first agreed during Prime Minister Singh’s state visit to Washington in November 2009. During this visit a Memoradum of Understanding was signed, establishing the center. The priority areas of focus for the U.S.-India clean energy center are likely to include: solar energy, energy efficiency, biofuels, clean coal technology and an integrated gasification combined cycle project that turns coal into synthesis gas.

President Obama’s Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke, who was part of the American delegation to India, echoed Singh’s comments yesterday in a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in India, emphasizing CCS technologies as one area government can work with the private sector to develop:

To get clean energy to scale, we’re going to have to mobilize and incentivize private sector innovation like never before. It could be next-generation biofuels, modular nuclear reactors or carbon capture and storage that completely changes the way the world uses energy. It could be all of the above.  Or it could be other innovations that we haven’t even thought of yet. If history is any guide, the commercialization and real-world application of these technologies will be pioneered by entrepreneurs and private sector innovators. And companies that can collaborate across borders will create immense benefits for the citizens of both their countries.

Many of these advanced clean coal technologies are being developed right here in the United States. An ACCCE study determined that the Holcomb Expansion Project in Finney County, Kansas would be among the cleanest power plants of its kind, using the best available technology to reduce the emission of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and carbon dioxide.

Countries around the world are starting to invest more in advanced clean coal technologies, not only to boost their environmental security, but to increase their economic security as well. And as our research has shown, investments into the expansion project in Kansas can create up to 1,900 jobs while investments nationwide can create 150,000 jobs across 30 states.


The Coal Wire: An International “Collaborative Relationship” on CCS Technology

TheCoalWire Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Melbourne, Australia today, highlighting “the excellent collaborative relationship our two nations enjoy.” That collaboration, especially on clean energy issues, expanded today with this announcement from the State Department:

The U.S. State Department has provided new funding of $500,000 to the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (GCCSI), an initiative launched and funded by the Australian Government that the U.S. Department of Energy has formally joined. The United States and Australia, which have together announced over $6 billion of domestic funding to accelerate commercial deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS), will use the Institute to disseminate lessons from their domestic CCS programs and employ combined expertise to lay the groundwork for future CCS projects in developing countries.

This comes on the heels of Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s announcement two months ago of the creation of a U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, a consortia that will be led by West Virginia University developing advanced clean coal technologies including carbon capture and storage.

In this edition of The Coal Wire, we explore what other countries are doing around the world when it comes to investing in, researching and developing CCS technologies:

CBC News – Greener Carbon Capture Comes Closer (10/28): “New Canadian research may help scientists design a system that captures carbon without guzzling water and energy like current methods do … But findings published Thursday in Science by a team of chemists from the University of Calgary and the University of Ottawa could help engineers design materials that suck up large amounts of carbon —‘without generating a lot of CO2 in capturing the carbon,’ said George Shimizu, one of the article’s six co-authors. He and his colleagues used a technique called X-ray crystallography to watch how carbon dioxide molecules get captured by a porous, solid carbon ‘trap.’ A solid material saves energy because no water has to be heated to recover the trapped carbon.”

Xinhua – EU Grants 150 Million Euros For CO2 Capture Plant In Netherlands (10/27): “The European Commission decided on Wednesday to provide a 150 million euros (about 206 U.S. dollars) grant for a carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration project to a joint venture between power and gas companies in The Netherlands, namely E.ON and GDF Suez. The joint venture will construct a carbon capture plant in the Rotterdam port area to capture part of the CO2 emitted by E.ON’s coal-fired power plant. The captured CO2, which is expected to amount to 1.1 million tons a year, will be transported through a pipeline to a depleted gas field in the North Sea for storage.”

The Warsaw Voice – Cleaning Up Coal (10/29): “A technology for storing carbon dioxide underground and clean coal technologies including coal gasification directly in the bed—these are the main research programs of the Polish Clean Coal Technology Platform established by a group of energy-sector companies led by Vattenfall Poland … Both these technologies are of particular interest to Poland. By 2020, in line with the assumptions of the European Commission, the technology for the underground storage of CO2 is to become fully commercial. It is therefore necessary to overcome any technological, economic and legal barriers by that time.”

New Europe – European Parliament Green Lights Energy Projects (10/31): “The European Parliament’s Energy Committee on 26 October gave its green light to an agreement with the Council to free up €146 million of uncommitted funds to finance energy saving, energy efficiency and renewable energy projects … The EERP, which was launched in 2009, aims to boost economic recovery by funding energy projects such as cross-border gas and electricity inter-connectors, offshore wind parks, and Carbon Capture and Storage projects (CCS). In 2010 a total of €3.98 billion was earmarked for such plans.”

If you want to find a clean coal technology or other environmentally beneficial project near you, click here to check out our CCT research map.


Republicans and Democrats Agree: Time to Come Together on Energy

The midterm elections have passed and, to put it lightly, President Obama will now have a different Congress to work with. The campaign cycle that just wrapped up highlighted some of the disagreements Republicans and Democrats have, leaving many journalists and pundits wondering if bipartisan agreement can be found on any issue.

The fact is that many issues relating to our energy and environmental security are things Republicans and Democrats already agree on. President Obama said as much during his post-midterm election press conference yesterday at the White House:

Now, moving forward, I think the question is going to be can Democrats and Republicans sit down together and come up with a set of ideas that address those core concerns.  I’m confident that we can. I think that there are some areas where it’s going to be very difficult for us to agree on, but I think there are going to be a whole bunch of areas where we can agree on.  I don’t think there’s anybody in America who thinks that we’ve got an energy policy that works the way it needs to; that thinks that we shouldn’t be working on energy independence.  And that gives opportunities for Democrats and Republicans to come together.

House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) also spoke yesterday, with McConnell looking forward to bipartisan agreement on energy issues. As reported by Bloomberg yesterday:

McConnell said he hoped Democrats “will pivot in a different direction and work with us on things like spending and debt and trade agreements” and “other things the president said that he’s for” such as nuclear power and clean-coal technology.

President Obama and Sen. McConnell are talking about building on bipartisan agreement on energy and environment issues that existed during the 111th Congress:

In January, Reps. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) formed a bipartisan Congressional Coal Caucus in order to collaborate on energy legislation.

In July, Democratic Sen. John Rockefeller (W.Va.) and Republican George Voinovich (Ohio) allied to introduce legislation to accelerate the development and deployment of carbon capture and storage technology, which can enable Americans to utilize coal, our nation’s most abundant domestically produced energy resource, in a clean way.

And President Obama and Sen. McConnell’s agreement on clean coal technology is well documented and a serves as a strong foundation on which to build bipartisan policy.

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity supports integrated clean energy and climate legislation that not only enhances our energy and environmental security, but also enhances our economic security. We look forward to working with the Obama administration, Republicans and Democrats in the 112th Congress to ensure that coal-based electricity can help lay the foundation for a clean energy future in America.