Archive for January, 2011

Coal Has “Been Part of Our Past, Our Present and Will Be Our Future”

We have often shown how elected and appointed officials at the federal level, on both sides of the aisle, have touted the economic importance of coal. Last week, in our Factuality Tour with Steve Gates, we featured an event where Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) said coal is vital to our economic and energy security.

Local leaders on both sides of the aisle also know how critical coal is to creating jobs and growing our economy. Last week, eleven state legislators from Virginia and West Virginia met with reporters and editorial board staff from The Bluefield Daily Telegraph to discuss coal’s importance to their region. Virginia legislators of both parties noted that the coal-based electricity industry fueled our nation’s economy and provides jobs inside and outside their region.

“I wish there was some way to just flip a switch and show the people of this nation just how much of their energy comes from coal,” State Senator Phillip P. Puckett, D-Russell said. “You can’t find any energy source right now that can replace coal. I believe we are all united in our support for coal …”

Delegates Anne B. Crockett-Stark, R-Wythe and James W. “Will” Morefield, R-Tazewell both expressed their support for the coal industry — saying that the industry is vital in terms of the energy is provides the nation and for the jobs it provides in southwestern Virginia.

“I’m on board with coal,” Delegate-elect Joe Ellington, a Mercer County Republican said. He said that the industry needs to continue searching for ways to mine coal safely and to continue efforts to protect and preserve the environment. “It’s been part of our past, our present and will be our future.”

And legislators from West Virginia stood united with their next-door neighbors, discussing coal’s abundance and affordability.

Senator-elect Ron Miller, also a Democrat representing the 10th Senatorial District said, “I’m a strong supporter of coal,” he said. “We ought to be talking about our metallurgical coal. We have some of the best, if not the best metallurgical coal in the world.”

Delegate-elect Marty Gearheart, a Republican from Mercer County, said that coal can compete against all energy sources. “Coal is the most efficient, abundant source of energy,” he said.

Click here for more information on how advanced coal-fueled electricity generation can create jobs and promote economic growth in key states around the country.

Factuality West Virginia: Coal is Our Economic Lifeblood

Earlier this week, we showed you how AEP is producing low-cost, coal-based electricity using cutting-edge technology in New Haven, West Virginia. During the Factuality Tour stop, I also had a great chance to stop by Charleston for a forum on the importance of coal with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), held at the University of Charleston.

Before the forum, we spoke with the president of the University of Charleston, Dr. Edwin Welch, to discuss the importance of coal to West Virginia. At the beginning of this video, Welch explains why coal is and will remain the economic lifeblood of the state, especially for the student population he oversees:

The United States has about 25 percent of the world’s known coal reserves, and Secretary Chu made the point that we are “the Saudi Arabia of coal” and the world “would never turn its back” on one of our most abundant energy sources. Sen. Rockefeller pointed out that AEP’s Mountaineer Plant is creating jobs and reliable energy by using technology that uses coal in the cleanest way possible.

Follow our Factuality tour here, and check this out for more information about how coal promotes energy independence and increased energy security.

Factuality West Virginia: Producing Low-Cost Electricity Using Cutting-Edge Technology

We talked a lot about how keeping coal as a part of our energy portfolio keep electricity costs down for families and businesses. And we’ve talked a lot about how coal can generate clean electricity using advanced clean coal technologies like carbon capture and storage. In New Haven, West Virginia the two work hand-in-hand.

I recently went to New Haven to visit American Electric Power’s Mountaineer Plant, where the general plant manager, Charlie Powell, shared how coal-fueled generation provides low-cost electricity to their customers:

The Mountaineer Plant is notable because it is hosting-cutting edge technology by running a carbon capture and storage test facility, funded partially by the U.S. Department of Energy. Brian Sherrick, CCS project manager at the plant, told us about how they capture and store 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year:

Mountaineer is on the front lines, but is not the only plant demonstrating how CCS works. Check out Dan Connell’s story. At Consol Energy in Pittsburgh, Dan explains how the technology he’s working on can use one of our most abundant fuel sources while leaving a smaller environmental footprint.