Archive for May, 2011

DOE’s James Wood and Rep. Griffith Talk Jobs and Affordability at the Eastern Coal Conference

The Eastern Coal Conference Council conference was held this week in Kingsport, Tennessee. Alongside lawmakers, regulators and representatives from major coal and energy employers spoke about issues including creating jobs and protecting consumers in the face of costly regulations.

James Wood, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Clean Coal at the U.S. Department of Energy, spoke about who would be hit hardest if electricity prices rose:

“Number one, electric rates are going to go up,” he said. “Number two, whether or not construction jobs in the green industry are created, I think there’s virtually no manufacturing jobs that are likely to be created from the replacement of coal…” The burden of the increasing costs that will result, he said, will be borne primarily by “the not so wealthy,” he said.

Assistant Secretary Wood also took time to tour the America’s Power Clean Coal Mobile Classroom, and noted in his speech that the innovations of clean coal technology have reduced the environmental footprint of coal-based generation, all while that generation has increased by 180 percent.

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R) of Virginia spoke about the great impact that coal has on job creation in his district and across the United States:

Representatives from American Electric Power and Dominion Power discussed some of the current challenges and the bright future of clean coal-based generation in the United States. Lisa Moerner, director of environmental policy and sustainability for Dominion, points out that her company “is making investments in coal right now to help us sustain coal as a fuel for the future.”

Clean coal technology is playing a vital role in powering America’s future. To learn more about what you can do to advance job creation while maintaining affordable energy prices in your state, visit and join over 200,000 others in the America’s Power Army and help spread the word.

The Coal Wire: Powering American Innovation with Clean Energy Technology

Every day, stakeholders across the energy spectrum are taking steps towards deploying carbon capture on a larger scale. Recent successes and studies consistently affirm the role of clean coal innovations in powering America’s growth with a cleaner, more stable, domestic energy source.

American Electric Power’s Mountaineer Plant, working with Alstom Power, recently concluded test operations of one of the world’s largest carbon capture and storage project thus far. The results were very successful, capturing as much as 90 percent of the CO2 from the test slipstream and permanently injecting it into the rock formations below. As the Carbon Capture Journal explains, the project is now moving into a second phase:

The formal testing program for the validation project has now been successfully completed. Analysis of the operating results have validated the predictions of Alstom’s process simulation models in terms of energy penalties, CO2 capture rates and ammonia losses, providing further confidence in the robustness of the design for a large-scale demonstration project planned for Mountaineer that would have the ability to capture up to 1.5 million metric tons per year of CO2.

CCS projects like AEP’s Mountaineer plant are on the cutting edge of technology, contributing to America’s energy security while creating good paying jobs. A new report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and The University of Texas at Austin underscores the need for these projects:

According to the report, the potential for storage of carbon emissions through enhanced oil recovery is vast. Scientists believe the principal zones for combining EOR [Enhanced Oil Recovery] and CCS could accommodate 3,500 gigawatt-years-equivalent of CO2 from coal power plants… As a tool for enhanced oil recovery, CO2 injected underground could boost domestic oil production by as much as three million barrels a day by 2030, according to one estimate, an increase of more than 50 percent over current levels.

The report adds that the U.S. must “accelerate efforts to pursue carbon capture and storage… including regulatory changes,” because “such a boost to U.S. energy security would simultaneously help reduce the country’s carbon footprint.” Regulations and job creation were also a theme at the Eastern Coal Conference this year. Ross Eisenberg, environmental and energy counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, explained the problem with stalled energy projects:

If just a few of the projects instead moved forward, he said – perhaps because of new rules that could shorten the lengthy permitting process – it could bring billions of dollars of investment into the economy and create tens of thousands of jobs. If all of them were built, he said, the figure would be hundreds of billions of dollars – and hundreds of thousands of jobs. But that investment isn’t happening right now, and those jobs are not being created, according to Eisenberg. And the federal regulatory climate makes it unclear what – if anything – will be able to get a permit in even the near future.

Projects like the AEP Mountaineer plant and the SWEPCO Turk Plant in Southwest Arkansas are already creating American jobs through energy innovation. CO2 is being captured and stored in other projects around the country, and research and investment is advancing daily. Coal is one of America’s most abundant energy resource, and with projects like these, it will be a source of innovation and job creation well into the future.

By The Numbers: As America Grows, Coal Emissions Fall

The coal-based electricity industry is continually improving technology and efficiency so that we can reduce the specific emissions from power plants while providing a domestic source of affordable energy.

Coal-Based Electricity Emissions

The above graphic was created using statistics from the Energy Information Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. From 1970 to today, growth has skyrocketed in America on three levels. The U.S. has had:

  • 48 percent growth in population
  • 180 percent growth in the use of coal for electricity generation, and
  • 209 percent growth in gross domestic product

Coal has consistently helped to keep American consumer electricity prices stable – which is why it is here to stay. And with a focus on new technology and innovation to for further emissions reductions, Vice President Joe Biden has acknowledged advanced coal technologies as an area that can provide “great opportunity for common efforts to find clean energy solutions.

According to the EPA, from 1970 to 2009, the coal-based electricity industry has had:

  • 56.6 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions
  • 38.7 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides emissions, and
  • 93.1 percent reduction in emissions of particulate matter

Right now new plants and technologies are being deployed that are even more efficient and environmentally friendly. It is clean coal technology innovation like this that creates jobs, provides opportunities in research and development, and further reduces the environmental footprint for one of America’s most abundant energy resources.

What American Students Need to Know about Electricity from Coal

Steve Miller, President and CEO, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity

The recent New York Times editorial (Scholastic’s Big Coal Mistake 5/13/11) criticizes Scholastic for providing materials to teachers that emphasized the significance of America’s most abundant domestically-produced fuel: coal.

However, all our students should be taught that coal has long played a critical role in providing affordable electricity for American families, businesses, and schools – where savings on energy costs can be poured right back into the classroom.  They should also be taught that the one-half of American families earning $50,000 per year or less pay, on average, about 22% of their after-tax income on energy costs, so having affordable electricity is extremely important to their quality of life.

Our students should also be knowledgeable about the fact that the U.S. has more energy in our coal than in the world¹s known oil reserves. They need to recognize that coal is a strategic asset that makes our nation more secure in an often unstable world.

We agree that students also should know more about responsible steps that have been taken to protect the environment.  A good starting point would be teaching that, thanks in large part to investments in clean coal technology, emissions traditionally controlled under the Clean Air Act have been cut by more than 80% per unit of electricity produced at coal-fueled power plants since 1970.  And educators should make clear that we still have work to do, including advancing carbon capture and storage technologies needed to reduce the carbon footprint of electricity generated by coal and natural gas – facts made clear on several federal government websites included in materials that Scholastic provided.

There is no question that educators, parents, and the American public should ensure that our students are well grounded in how energy is created and used and in our personal responsibility to leaving a cleaner environment for future generations.  It will be class time well-spent to lay out the facts about our fuel choices and the need for greater energy efficiency.  When students think critically about the pluses and minuses of all fuels, they will recognize that coal has been and will continue to be America¹s fuel for decades to come.

Mobile Classroom Stops by Shreveport, Louisiana to Talk About Advanced Coal Technologies

Last weekend, the Clean Coal Mobile Classroom spent an entire day in downtown Shreveport, Louisiana, meeting several SWEPCO employees as well as visitors from the local science center. KSLA Channel 12 News of Shreveport reported on our visit and interviewed SWEPCO spokesperson Kacee Kirschvink about the construction of the John W. Turk, Jr. power plant in Southwest Arkansas:

As Kacee mentioned, SWEPCO’s Turk plant uses state-of-the-art advanced coal technologies that make coal-fueled generation more efficient and decrease its environmental footprint. The plant project supports 1,900 jobs at the height of its construction and will create 110 permanent jobs when it is complete.

Mike Young, Director of Corporate Communications for SWEPCO, talked about the importance of coal as part of a balanced energy portfolio and his company’s investments in advanced coal technologies:

For more information about the Turk plant, visit our friends at the Arkansas Coalition for Affordable and Reliable Electricity.

Evan Tracey Named ACCCE Senior Vice President, Communications

Alexandria, Va. – The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity announced today that Evan Tracey will be joining the coalition as senior vice president, communications.  Tracey has served as president of Campaign Media Analysis Group, a Kantar Media company, since he founded the company in 1997.

“Evan Tracey understands how to communicate the importance of electricity from coal and the value of investments in clean coal technology,” said Steve Miller, ACCCE president and CEO.  “He is one of the top communication experts in America and his vision and leadership will be a vital asset to ACCCE.”

Currently one of the leading voices on trends in political and issue media, Evan Tracey comes to ACCCE with extensive experience in communications.  Most notably, he founded Campaign Media Analysis which has become the leading custom media research company for politics and public affairs since the company’s onset.

He has two decades of political, legislative and issue research experience and has provided strategic media analysis for a number of trade associations, foundations, Fortune 500 companies, political party committees, the national press, academic institutions, as well as hundreds of national, statewide and local political campaigns.

Tracey has appeared often as a political media analyst for CNN, serving as a leading commentator on trends in political, public affairs and issue advertising.  He also has written regularly for Ad Age magazine and been a featured speaker at top universities and forums.

Tracey is a member of the faculty at George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management.  He received a M.A. from George Mason University and a B.A. from West Virginia Wesleyan College.

SWEPCO’s Turk Plant: Economic Opportunity for Southwest Arkansas

Earlier this week, the America’s Power Clean Coal Mobile Classroom visited the site of the John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant in Fulton, Arkansas. Construction workers, SWEPCO/AEP employees and state regulators toured our classroom as we were able to see firsthand the benefits the Turk plant is providing Southwest Arkansas.

We talked with Tim Gross, manager of the Turk project, about the job opportunity and economic benefits this ultra-supercritical power plant will bring to the area:

Currently, more than 1,900 workers are employed by the Turk project, which is just over 65% complete. Our stop provided an opportunity for the workers at the site to gain an appreciation for the role they play in building what will become one of America’s most efficient coal-fueled power plants.

Throughout our tour of Arkansas, many folks have registered to become members of the Arkansas Coalition for Affordable and Reliable Energy (ACARE), an organization to educate the citizens of the state about the benefits of a reliable and balanced energy portfolio that utilizes fewer resources for electric power. If you’d like to show your support for the Turk project and the importance of affordable, reliable electricity, click here to join ACARE. To learn more, hear Venita McClellon-Allen explain economic and energy security benefits the Turk Plant will deliver.

Biden: Great Progress Ahead Between America and China on Clean Coal

Yesterday at a joint strategic economic dialogue, members of President Obama’s administration joined their counterparts from China to discuss how our two countries can work together to achieve sustained economic growth and stability. One of the areas discussed was the critical role energy security plays in the global economy.

Vice President Joe Biden gave opening remarks at the strategic economic dialogue, touting advanced coal technologies as one area for “great opportunity for common efforts to find clean energy solutions.”

As the Vice President notes, clean coal is “an area where there is potential for great progress” to be made on a global scale to meet the challenge of growing economies that need reliable sources of energy.

That’s why members of both parties on Capitol Hill are working of legislation to develop advanced coal technologies like carbon capture and storage. As reported by Environment & Energy Daily [subscription only]:

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee meets this week to discuss two carbon capture and storage measures as Chairman Jeff Bingaman continues his effort to move parts of a broad 2009 energy bill as stand-alone measures … The CCS measure (S. 699) — sponsored by Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — would establish a program at the Department of Energy to facilitate up to 10 commercial-scale projects.

Investments in these advanced coal technologies, here and abroad, will be good for our economy, our energy security and our environment.