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.