Archive for February, 2011

The Coal Wire: Governors Know Coal Must Be Part Of Investments In Our Energy Infrastructure

Today, President Obama and Vice President Biden are hosting a bipartisan group of governors at the White House as the National Governors Association ends its winter meeting in Washington, DC.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-Mont.), along with other Democratic governors, met with President Obama on Friday where they discussed ideas to spur job growth. Schweitzer appeared on MSNBC after his meeting, saying investments in energy infrastructure, including clean coal, are critical to our economic prosperity:

Today will also be the chance for newly elected governors to share their ideas as well. As part of his plan during the campaign to grow energy infrastructure in his state, Gov. Tom Corbett (R-Pa.) says that cultivating Pennsylvania’s coal resources is important to creating jobs and lower energy costs:

Pennsylvania’s energy resources are a critical component to revitalizing our economy, growing job opportunities and positioning the commonwealth in the global marketplace … Coal is an abundant resource in Pennsylvania and growing the mining industry is dependent on embracing clean coal technologies.

An ACCCE-commissioned study last year showed that investments in advanced coal technologies would mean over 3,300 jobs in Montana and over 4,100 jobs in Pennsylvania. To learn more about advanced coal technology projects in Montana, Pennsylvania or any other state, check out our clean coal technology research map.


How Affordable Energy Can Help Small Businesses in Ohio Win the Future

President Obama visited Cleveland State University today, holding a “Winning the Future Forum on Small Business,” where he and members of his administration are hearing directly from small business owners about their ideas to grow the economy and create jobs.

One small business owner the Obama administration should listen to is Olivia Albright of Toledo. Olivia owns AOA Products, LLC, a full service packaging company specializing in poly-bagging, skin packaging and liquid-filled kits. In this video, Olivia says that energy costs are her second highest expense (right after the income she provides for her employees) and explains that affordable energy from coal-based electricity allows her to stay competitive:

Olivia also notes that coal needs to stay in Ohio’s energy mix because the affordable energy it provides allows her to create more jobs and provide more benefits:

The facts back up Olivia. Coal provides 84 percent of Ohio’s power. And as for Ohio’s neighbors, border states that use more coal have cheaper electricity while border states that use less coal have more expensive electricity.

Coal also creates jobs. According to a 2010 ACCCE-commissioned study (.pdf), the construction of advanced coal technology facilities could provide $2.4 billion in labor income to Ohio families while the operation of those facilities could create over 2,200 direct and indirect jobs in the Buckeye State.

There’s also bipartisan agreement that coal needs to be part of a balanced energy portfolio in Ohio. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) says advanced coal technologies can make the state a “Silicon Valley” of energy. And Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) says Ohio’s coal and advanced coal technologies, among other resources, can play a role to improving our “access to reliable, affordable and cleaner domestic energy.”

The message from Olivia to President Obama and all Americans is clear: if we want small businesses to win the future, coal must remain a part of our economy and any policy initiatives should promote a balanced, affordable and reliable energy portfolio that includes the use of coal and advanced coal technologies.

To learn more about Olivia and AOA Products, click here.


Three Things You Need to Know About Coal and Our Standard of Living

Today, President Obama’s Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, spoke to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, encouraging the continued use of coal as a part of our energy mix and supporting the continued investment into advanced coal technologies.

“We must also invest in the improvement of existing sources of energy that will provide a bridge between current and future technologies. These technologies are already a major segment of the energy mix and will play a critical role in providing a solid foundation that will make possible the creation of a new energy economy … The world will continue to rely on coal-fired electrical generation to meet energy demand. It is imperative that the United States develop the technology to ensure that base-load electricity generation is as clean and reliable as possible … The United States has 25 percent of the world’s coal reserves …”

Coal has had a particular importance to our standard of living. Yet there have been two stories about coal-based electricity and our standard of living: one story is about the environmental challenges associated with the use of coal; the other is about the economic benefits coal provides.

In that light, here are three things you need to know about coal-based electricity and our standard of living:

  • The Coal-Fueled Electricity Industry Continues to Commit Resources to Have a Smaller Environmental Footprint: Since 1970, emissions (per unit of electricity produced) of major air pollutants from coal-fueled power plants have been reduced by over 80 percent. Today, clean coal technologies are being installed on coal-fueled power plants, removing 90 to 99 percent of the major air pollutants. The fact is that coal-fueled power plants are subject to dozens of federal and state clean air regulations that are designed to reduce air emissions and protect public health. That’s why coal-fueled power plants will spend an estimated $115-125 billion by 2015 on emission technologies to comply with clean air requirements.
  • The Coal-Fueled Electricity Industry Provides Well-Paying Jobs: Many well-paying jobs are directly and indirectly related to the use of coal in our nation. According to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers based on U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data, U.S. coal mining was responsible for 154,000 direct jobs and over 400,000 indirect jobs in 2008.

When Americans evaluate their standard of living, they take a look at multiple items: the environment they live in, the economy they participate in, and where they spend their money. And when evaluating how a particular item impacts our standard of living, it’s important to look at all factors and not single out one issue.

When you look at all of these factors, it’s no wonder why the Obama administration, as well as Congressional Republicans and Democrats, are committed to using coal and investing in technologies to generate electricity from coal as cleanly as possible so that our standard of living can be maintained.


The Coal Wire: Congressional Republicans, Democrats on Coal and Our Economy

The connection between jobs and energy is a hot topic today on Capitol Hill. The House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy (of the Energy and Commerce Committee) is meeting to discuss environmental regulations, the economy and jobs.

House Republicans and Democrats on this subcommittee know that when it comes to growing our economy and moving toward a clean energy future, investing in coal-based electricity and advanced coal technologies must play a key role:

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) with members of our Clean Coal Technology Mobile Classroom team.

  • Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-Ill.): “We will continue to use coal in our manufacturing and electricity generation for some time to come We can embrace the use of the vast natural resources of our nation, or we can shoot ourselves in the foot economically.”
  • Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-Tex.): “Federal research is needed into new energy technologies that will ensure our energy security for years to come. I support research into environmental improvements for producing oil and gas, developing clean coal power, and newer renewable energy technologies like wind power.”

  • Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.): “[W]e must push to develop other fuel sources, such as coal, to meet our fuel needs. Today, the United States possesses enough coal reserves for the next 250 years, with much of this supply lying in Kentucky’s own backyard. Kentucky’s coal industry alone has an economic impact of $3.25 billion and employs approximately 17,000 miners, along with tens of thousands of additional workers.”

On the other side of Capitol Hill, the Senate Subcommittee and Green Jobs and the New Economy (of the Environment and Public Works Committee) is holding a hearing on green jobs and trade.

Republican and Democratic Senators on this committee also note the importance coal and advanced coal technologies play in achieving a balanced energy portfolio:

  • Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.): “From wind, oil and gas to solar, biomass, biodiesel and clean coal, Montana has it all. With new clean energy technologies we can create good-paying jobs while protecting our outdoor heritage.”
  • Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.): “Right now half of the electricity in the United States comes from coal. Coal is affordable, abundant, and reliable. Most importantly, coal is an American energy resource. America cannot afford to leave stranded its most abundant, commercially viable energy resource. Coal creates American jobs.  It generates revenues for federal, state and local governments.  And it enhances America’s energy security.”

  • Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.): “We can take control of our energy security by producing more energy here at home from a diverse portfolio of power sources including renewable energy, natural gas, enhanced domestic oil production, safe nuclear power, real clean coal technology and energy efficiency and conservation.  By “doing it all” here in the U.S.A., we can put our nation on a path towards energy independence …”

Click here for more information on how America depends on the reliability of coal to increase our energy security and ensure a balanced energy portfolio.


Capito: Coal Can be Part of a Clean Energy Strategy

Rep. Capito Visits the Clean Coal Technology Mobile Classroom

As founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Coal Caucus, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R – W.Va.) has made it her mission to educate her colleagues on the importance of coal as part of any plan to grow our economy and increase our energy security. Here’s what she said in her announcement relaunching the caucus:

Coal is our nation’s most abundant natural resource and supports more than 130,000 good-paying jobs across the country.  Anyone who turns on a light or plugs in a computer or watches their favorite TV show has coal to thank for providing a low-cost energy supply.  Failure to include this vital resource in an all-of-the-above approach to our energy security will mean widespread consequences, from higher utility bills at home to increased costs at the grocery store.

Rep. Capito also recognizes that coal can be a part of America’s clean energy future, through the development of advanced coal technologies like carbon capture and storage. Last October, Capito took the time to visit our Clean Coal Technology. It Works. mobile classroom, which features interactive presentations on CCS technologies.

In a recent interview with Amy Harder of the National Journal, Rep. Capito argued that supporting and investing in CCS technologies will allow us to use one of our most abundant resources while also leaving a smaller environmental footprint:

[I]f we don’t pursue this angle, we’re going to leave one of our most abundant native resources out of the energy mix; and I think we have to have everything, not just coal. We have a lot of natural gas in our state, too, and it has challenges as well.

Rep. Capito hopes that also hope that investments in advanced coal technologies continue to take place:

Creating an incentive for the private sector to get into this market is a good strategy. Most of the incentives right now are going toward wind and solar. The president mentioned a lot of green energy [in his State of the Union speech] and then he said “clean coal” as one very small part of that, which gave me a glimmer of hope that he believes coal can be clean enough to become green energy. But there is a lot of competition for the dollars.

To learn more about carbon capture and storage, click here.


Study Finds Families Burdened By Ever-Increasing Energy Costs

Half of US Households Spend 20% of Family Budget on Energy Costs

Alexandria, VA – One-half of American households will spend 20 percent of their after-tax income on energy costs this year, according to a study released today by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. The study outlined how increases in energy costs since 2001 are disproportionately hurting low- and fixed-income families, who must devote an ever-growing percentage of their family budget to residential and transportation energy.

“To grow our economy and help American families meet their budgets, it is critical that the government enact policies that will contain energy costs,” said Steve Miller, president and CEO of ACCCE. “Regulations that significantly increase energy costs are going to take the greatest toll on low-income families.”

In 2001, the one-half of American households making less than $50,000 annually spent an average of 12 percent of their after-tax income on energy costs. That percentage rose to 16 percent in 2005, and now to 20 percent in 2011.

Among energy products used by all American households, electricity has experienced relatively low price increases since 2001. Coal provides nearly one-half of America’s electricity supply, and has contributed to the relative stability of consumer electricity prices. However, the EPA is planning to impose sweeping new regulations over the next year that could severely hinder the development of new coal-fueled power plants and ultimately increase the cost of electricity.

“Thanks in large part to coal—America’s most abundant domestically-produced fuel, our nation’s electricity prices have remained relatively stable and affordable for families and businesses,” said Miller.

Other key findings of the study include:

  • Lower-income households are paying nearly a quarter of their income for energy costs. The 27 million lower-income households earning between $10,000 and $30,000, representing 23% of U.S. households, will allocate 23% of their 2011 after-tax income to energy, more than twice the national average of 11%.
  • Household gasoline costs have more than doubled in the past ten years, from an average of $1,680 in 2001 to a projected $3,601 in 2011. Increased gasoline costs account for 75% of the $2,562 average household energy cost increase since 2001.
  • Coal has helped keep electricity prices relatively stable. Among consumer energy products, electricity has maintained relatively low annual price increases since 2001. The average household electric bill has increased from $938 in 2001 to a projected $1,368 in 2011, representing 17% of the $2,562 average household energy cost increase since 2001. Coal-based generation provides almost one-half of America’s electricity supply and has contributed to the relative stability of consumer electricity prices.
  • Minority households are disproportionately impacted by higher energy costs. In 2009, 62% of Hispanic households and 67% of black households had average annual incomes below $50,000, compared with 46% of white households and 39% of Asian households. Energy costs represent a much larger fraction of disposable income for households earning less than $50,000 than for wealthier families. Due to these income inequalities, the burdens of energy price increases are imposed disproportionately on black and Hispanic households.
  • Senior citizens living on fixed incomes are particularly vulnerable to energy price increases. Seniors have the highest per capita residential energy consumption among all age categories. The average basic Social Security income of 31.5 million senior households was $15,443 in 2009. The median income of 25.3 million households with a principal householder aged 65 or older was $31,354.

The full study can be found at: http://www.americaspower.org/sites/default/files/Energy_Cost_Burdens_on_…

The ACCCE study is based on data compiled from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau. The study was performed by Eugene M. Trisko, an environmental attorney and energy economist who represents labor and industry clients. He previously served as an attorney in the Bureau of Consumer Protection of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.


Paduchik Named ACCCE Senior Vice President, State Affairs and Outreach

Alexandria, Va. – The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity is pleased to announce the addition of Bob Paduchik as senior vice president, state affairs and outreach.

Paduchik served as campaign manager for Rob Portman’s successful 2010 campaign in Ohio for the United States Senate.

“Bob Paduchik understands how to raise awareness for comprehensive energy policies, and is one of the top strategists in America,” said Steve Miller, ACCCE president and CEO. “His leadership and expertise will be critical to our issue awareness campaign in key states like Ohio and all across America.”

Over the last twenty years, Bob has earned extensive experience in Ohio politics. Most notably he served as the Ohio Campaign Manager for President George W. Bush’s reelection in 2004, playing a key role in delivering this critical battleground state. He has also worked in two campaigns for Ohio governor, a U.S. Senate race in the Buckeye State, and he was the Executive Director for the Ohio Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign.

Bob was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Office of Intergovernmental, External and Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy in 2001. In addition to managing the office, he coordinated the department’s efforts to educate Members of Congress and other elected officials regarding the Yucca Mountain Project resolution, which passed the House and Senate with overwhelming majorities.

Bob earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Akron and he resides in Alexandria, Virginia.


Guest Post: Rock of Ages

ACCCE welcomes Milton Catelin, Chief Executive of the World Coal Association, to Behind the Plug. – Bianca Prade

As the latest round of UN talks on climate change concluded in Mexico in December and attention now turns to the next talks in Durban at the end of 2011, it is important to understand the role of coal in our lives as an engine for economic and social development and the lynchpin of energy security.

For its part, the coal industry is reducing emissions at its own operations, investing in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies and encouraging and assisting governments to do likewise.

Just as local coal operations responded to concerns expressed in the communities in which they operated about sulphur oxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) and ambient pollution, the global industry is responding to concerns expressed by the worldwide community about CO2 emissions, mine safety and other challenges.

But it is important to remember there is more to coal than the negatives associated with traditional combustion or mining methods. Coal has been the driver of economic and social development in the West and is raising living standards in many developing countries now.

Study after study has demonstrated that access to affordable, reliable energy – particularly electricity – equates to longer lives and a higher quality of life. And coal is the cornerstone of global electricity, providing more than 40 per cent of the world’s power today and for the foreseeable future.

Coal is also a vital element for 70 per cent of the world’s steel and aluminium, making possible the benefits to the numerous industries and economies – aerospace, shipbuilding, infrastructure and construction, packaging – that rely on those materials.

The energy and environmental demands of the 21st Century mean that the world needs more of all energy forms. It will need more nuclear, more renewables, higher levels of energy efficiency. But the world’s energy and environmental aspirations cannot be achieved without coal.

The International Energy Agency has demonstrated that it is not possible to restrict global temperature rises this century to 2 degrees Centigrade without coal and the widespread deployment of CCS. In fact, to try to do so without coal and CCS would make the global mitigation effort 78 per cent more expensive than it need be by 2050.

No wonder, then, that the head of the IEA, Nobuo Tanaka, has said that: “The deployment of CCS should be a litmus test for the seriousness of negotiators dealing with climate change.”

Coal is the rock of ages – the bedrock of the modern world and the engine of tomorrow’s growth and human prosperity.