Archive for January, 2011

The Coal Wire: Government, Industry and Labor Support Clean Coal Technologies

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Obama gave recognition to the fact that any clean energy portfolio must be balanced by including clean coal, natural gas, nuclear, solar and wind among other sources. And in his daily White House gaggle with reporters on the way to Wisconsin yesterday, the President’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, reiterated the need for a broad, balanced approach to achieving energy independence:

[W]e sort of sometimes get stuck in these debates … are you going to do solar and wind to do that, or are you going to do nuclear and clean coal to do that?  And the President’s belief is with a challenge as enormous as our energy independence, that the only way we’re going to meet that challenge is to do both, to do all of it.

Those who represent working families are also touting the importance of coal, not only as a solution for energy independence, but also as a way to create millions of jobs. The Green Labor Journal, a collaboration between the National Labor College and the AFL-CIO Center for Green Jobs, highlighted previous reports, including a study ACCCE commissioned along with several labor unions showing that advanced coal technologies can directly create 150,000 jobs in 30 states, and support 7 million new green jobs over the next 15 years:

Policy discussions about the potential for new green job creation often focus on jobs associated with traditional renewable energy sources and energy efficiency and conservation technologies.  While our economy continues to struggle with unacceptably high levels of unemployment and declining real wages for workers, we must not lose sight of the potential for a new generation of low-carbon jobs through the development of advanced coal-based electric generation equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.

Those representing America’s employers are joining the administration’s and labor’s recognition that a balanced energy mix is the right path towards energy independence and economic competitiveness. The American Iron and Steel Institute released the following yesterday in response to President Obama’s address:

To achieve the President’s goal of energy independence and harnessing clean energy, we support creating an abundant and affordable energy supply by developing the full range of energy sources available in the United States, including domestic oil, natural gas, nuclear power, clean coal resources, and wind and solar power.   It’s essential that we make all these sources of energy part of the nation’s energy independence strategy moving forward.

To see how advanced coal technologies are helping to create jobs and provide a balanced clean energy portfolio, check out the technologies Mark Dunkerly is working with at CONSOL Energy in Pittsburgh.

Statement From ACCCE President In Response To The State Of The Union Address

Alexandria, VAThe following statement was released today by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity President and CEO Steve Miller in response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address:

“Sustained economic growth, competiveness in the global marketplace and the creation of millions of American jobs depend on sensible regulations and policies.

“The most important thing President Obama and Congress can do to ‘win the future’ is work together to create jobs, help families cope and get our economy growing.  Sound energy policies that ensure a vital role for coal are essential to accomplishing these goals.

“In 2011, half of U.S. households will devote at least 20 percent of their after-tax income to energy.  Ten years ago, these households spent only 12 percent of their income on energy.  The affordability of coal-fueled electricity has helped moderate this increase in energy costs, and continued reliance on coal can help the U.S. to recover economically and American businesses to compete globally.”

Five Ways Coal Can Help Our Economy

The State of the Union address is tonight, and President Obama has made it clear that the substantive theme and priority for his administration will be growing the economy in short- and long-term. How we approach energy production will be a critical part our economic well-being, and it’s something we look forward to hearing from the President.

While members of Congress and the Obama administration will be offering ideas about how to grow our economy today and in the coming days, there are five things you and our elected officials should know about coal and how it can help our economy thrive.

  • Coal Means Jobs: According to a study ACCCE commissioned last May, the deployment of advanced coal technologies would create or support more than 150,000 jobs nationally, and 1.7 million job-years of labor would be created through construction of those technologies. Another study conducted by researchers at Penn State found that U.S. coal production, transportation and consumption for electricity power generation contributes more than 6.8 million jobs – directly and indirectly – to America’s economy.

  • Coal Means Lower Electricity Costs for Job Creators: Providing businesses with a reliable supply of affordable electricity is key to getting our economy back on track so that we can maintain existing jobs and create millions of new ones. The fact is that 4 of the 5 states with the lowest retail electricity costs rely upon coal to generate 80 percent or more of their electricity. The affordability and relative stability of coal prices means American businesses can keep people employed and provide affordable services to consumers.
  • Coal Means Lower Electricity Costs for Families: For working families, less money spent on electricity bills means more money for other necessities. In 2009, over 60 million American households with annual incomes below $50,000 spent 22 percent of their after-tax income on energy-related costs. One of the primary advantages of using coal is its low cost – and fuel price is a major component in the cost of electricity. Coal’s affordability has helped limit these rising energy costs. And that has meant more money for child care, food and other family essentials.
  • Coal Means More Energy Security: Coal can promote energy independence while keeping energy costs low. That’s because America has more reserves of recoverable coal within its borders than any other country, and coal provides almost half of America’s electricity generation over the past decade. The coal we rely upon is found right here at home, and we have more than a 200-year supply based upon today’s rate of usage.
  • Coal Means More Benefits for Taxpayers: In a 2009 ACCCE-commissioned study, American taxpayers see a quick and significant return on federal investments in advanced coal technologies, gaining $13 in benefits for every dollar the government invests. The primary benefit: reduced electricity rates resulting from lower compliance costs as coal-generated plants deploy new technologies to meet air quality standards.

For more information on how coal and advanced coal technologies can create well-paying, sustainable jobs, click here.

Coal Will Get America’s Economy Back on its Feet

President Obama is giving his State of the Union address tomorrow and members of Congress are preparing their responses. We know that the dominant theme with both Republicans and Democrats will be job creation and economic growth.

That’s why the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity is now running ads nationwide, outlining the fact that affordable energy through coal will help businesses create jobs and help our country compete in a 21st century global economy.

In a recent letter to the editor of The Terre Haute Tribune-Star, ACCCE President and CEO Steve Miller outlines the importance of coal-based electricity and why it is critical to America’s economic well-being:

First, coal helps keep electricity affordable. Four of five states with the lowest retail electricity costs use coal to generate 80 percent or more of their electricity.

Second, the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts world coal consumption will increase by 49 percent from 2006-2030. That’s why investing in clean coal technologies is so important. Thanks, in large part, to clean coal technology, major air pollutants from coal-fueled power plants are more than 80 percent lower (per kilowatt hour of electricity generated) than 30 years ago.

For more information on how keeping electricity prices low helps American businesses, click here.

Keeping America Competitive With Advanced Coal Technologies

Today, President Obama is traveling to Schenectady, New York, the birthplace of General Electric (GE), to deliver a speech focused on growing our economy and creating jobs through clean energy development. The President will also announce his appointment of GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt as the chairman of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Along with several other ACCCE member companies, GE is working on developing clean coal technology projects that can make America more competitive in a global market. In a Washington Post op-ed today, Immelt explains how GE is investing in energy and other sectors, using innovation to grow business:

President Obama has asked me to chair his new President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. I have served for the past two years on the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, and I look forward to leading the next phase of this effort as we transition from recovery to long-term growth. The president and I are committed to a candid and full dialogue among business, labor and government to help ensure that the United States has the most competitive and innovative economy in the world … Businesses should invest more of their cash and resources in advanced products and technologies that will create jobs in the United States, and government should incentivize this investment in innovation. Today, GE is investing more than ever in research and development – about 6 percent of revenue – aimed at solving challenges in transportation, energy and health care.

Immelt’s remarks echo a recent ACCCE study that shows development of advanced coal technologies can create over 150,000 jobs in 30 states.

Yet innovation isn’t the only way coal is key to America’s competitiveness. The affordability of coal in relation to other sources of energy provides businesses with a reliable supply of electricity that can put our economy back on track. In fact, four of the five states in the nation with the lowest retail electricity costs reply upon coal to generate 80 percent or more of their electricity. And because America has more reserves of recoverable coal within its borders than any other country, finding ways to use coal more efficiently promotes greater domestic energy security, a critical component to the stability of our economy.

Click here for a map where you can see more on the advanced coal technology innovations happening across the country.

Coal is Key as Obama Talks with Chinese President Hu

Officials from the Chinese government – including China’s President Hu Jintao – arrived in DC yesterday for a week of talks with our government. When it comes to coal, the two countries got straight to business.

Two days ago, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu joined representatives of the Chinese government to advance and expand cooperation on the U.S-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC). Among other things, CERC focuses on advance coal technologies such as carbon capture and storage. This comes just over one year after Presidents Obama and Hu agreed to establishing CERC with the initial research priorities being “energy efficiency, clean coal including carbon capture and storage, and clean vehicles”

Yesterday, President Obama mentioned the Clean Energy Research Center in his opening remarks at a joint press conference with President Hu:

It’s not just the American and Chinese governments working together to make sure that coal is a part of a balanced energy portfolio. Companies from both countries are working together to create jobs with coal-based electricity. Just yesterday, the White House announced that ACCCE member company Peabody Energy will be working with a Chinese firm on advanced coal technologies:

Peabody Energy has inked two deals with Chinese companies to develop coal mines and coal-powered electric plants there. The White House announced the projects as part of China’s President Hu Jintao’s visit to the U.S. and an agreement announced Wednesday for China to buy $45 billion in U.S. exports. Peabody’s first memorandum of understanding is with the China Huaneng Group to develop a “clean coal electricity generation project with carbon capture” in the Xilinguole League Prefecture, White House officials said. The project would include a large surface coal mine and technology to convert carbon dioxide into cement-like building materials, White House officials said.

Another ACCCE member, American Electric Power, announced a similar deal:

American Electric Power Co signed an agreement with China’s largest power company, China Huaneng Group to evaluate carbon capture technology that could be used in power plants in the United States. American Electric also signed an agreement with State Grid Corp of China to jointly evaluate energy-storage, smart-meter and other technologies, the energy department said.

The private sector and public sector of both the United States and China are recognizing that advanced coal technologies create jobs and economic benefits by using one of the world’s most abundant and affordable energy sources. ACCCE studies show that investments into advanced coal technologies could create over 150,000 jobs across 30 states, and that taxpayers gain $13 in economic benefits for every dollar the government invests in those technologies.

These are facts that Secretary Chu recognized in a Huffington Post piece yesterday:

While the United States is competing for leadership in energy innovation, we have much to gain by cooperating with China. Together, we can develop and test new technologies, accelerate their deployment, and bring down their costs. We can boost exports and create new jobs. We can enhance energy security and cut pollution. And we can build a sustainable energy future for the U.S., for China and for the world.

Like Chu, legislators and governors in the states are looking for ways energy investments can create new jobs. As the State of the Union approaches and we begin to see the Administration and Congress’ energy and economic priorities take shape for the year, come back to Behind the Plug to learn how coal will help power it all.

Press Release: ACCCE Lauds New US/China Agreements on Clean Coal Technology

Alexandria, VA – In conjunction with China President Hu Jintao’s visit to the United States this week, the United States and China have announced multiple new agreements that ensure the two nations will work closely together on the development of clean coal technology.

“Greater cooperation with China on the development of clean coal technology can mean greater job opportunities here in the United States and even greater progress in protecting our environment,” said Steve Miller, president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.  “China is the world’s largest energy user and the United States has the world’s largest coal reserves.  By being able to utilize coal in an increasingly clean fashion, we can spur the creation of well-paying American jobs.”

Among the newly announced clean coal technology projects this week:

  • American Electric Power (AEP) signed cooperation agreements to advance transmission, distribution and cleaner power generation technologies, including carbon capture and storage.
  • GE announced a new partnership on a clean coal technology project in China that will support hundreds of jobs in Texas, South Carolina and New York.
  • Peabody Energy signed agreements to help develop two power plants in China with the newest clean coal technologies.
  • The United States and Chinese governments agreed to expand their cooperation on the Clean Energy Research Center (CERC), which includes research on carbon capture and storage (CCS).

“Investments in clean coal technology reap benefits for U.S. consumers and taxpayers, and will help ensure American families and businesses have an affordable, reliable supply of electricity, while we meet our commitment to a cleaner environment,” said Miller.

A 2009 study sponsored by four labor organizations and ACCCE found that the development of CCS technology – just one of many clean coal technologies – could provide almost seven million job-years (one person in a job for a year) of employment and $368 billion in labor income for the United States.

Additionally, a Management Information Services study sponsored by ACCCE found that American taxpayers will see a return of $13 for every dollar the government invests in clean coal technology.


The Coal Wire: “Looking for More Ways to Use Coal, Not Less”

State houses across the country have been opening up their legislative sessions this week, and governors have been giving their State of the State addresses. There’s been a common theme: states across the country are looking for ways to create jobs and grow our economy.

Two governors recently gave their State of the State addresses, voicing their support for coal-based electricity and its importance to economic vitality. In his first address, Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D-W.Va.) reaffirmed coal’s importance to his state:

“In these tough economic times, we should be looking for more ways to use coal, not less. It is hard to understand why some people want to turn their back on and vilify such an important resource that has such potential – and a proven track record – for our country.”

In his first address to the legislature, newly elected Gov. Matt Mead (R-Wyo.) talked about the technologies being used to make one of our most abundant and affordable sources of energy more efficient and clean:

“With respect to our coal and our oil and gas industries, I support research and development of carbon capture and sequestration technology … Improved technologies provide a benefit to companies and help them remain profitable. Wyoming is on the cutting edge of many technologies. We have laws in place and projects underway. Technologies will be improved with projects like the UW-GE coal gasification facility, the development of the DKRW project in Carbon County, and advanced research at the School of Energy Resources.”

And yesterday, we were at the National Press Club for the United States Energy Association’s 7th Annual State of the Energy Industry Forum, live-tweeting comments and speeches from leaders of several energy trade associations.

Tom Kuhn, President and CEO of the Electric Power Institute, kicked off the meeting by touting the electric utilities’ 30 year record of reducing sulfur DIOXIDE and nitrogen OXIDES emissions by 70 percent while increasing electricity generation by 75 percent, noting that coal will still be the “backbone” of our electric utility system. Hal Quinn, President and CEO of the National Mining Association echoed coal’s importance to our economy, mentioning the fact that in 25 of the 50 states with the lowest electricity prices, all but four use coal for more than 40 percent of their power.

Other trade associations involved in power generation also touted their support for a balanced energy portfolio that includes coal. Skip Horvath, President and CEO of the Natural Gas Supply Association noted that we need all fossil fuels, including coal, to ensure power output variability. And Joy Ditto, Vice President for Government Affairs at the American Public Power Association, wanted to make sure that any energy mix remain diverse and supported clean coal technologies to have coal remain in that mix.

We have long shown how important it is for coal to remain an important part of our balanced energy portfolio. As states use this legislative session to revive their economies, many will lean on coal to power their growth.