Archive for November, 2012

Hurting Coal Taxes Your Future

After a long election, Washington has changed gears, and is now tackling economic issues impacting generations of Americans. Energy is an essential part of our economy, and coal is a vital component to ensuring a reliable source of electricity. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report on the significant role that coal will play in the future, and the title reveals everything: Significant Changes Are Expected in Coal-Fueled Generation, but Coal Is Likely to Remain a Key Fuel Source.

The GAO writes:

Coal is generally expected to remain a key fuel source for U.S. electricity generation in the future… Available information indicates that existing and potential future regulations may make it more expensive to generate electricity using coal, thus affecting coal’s future use.

As we already know, economic conditions and government regulations will play a role in determining how significant that is.

Recent EPA regulations would be catastrophic to the jobs and affordable energy provided by the coal-based electricity industry. These regulations will cause electricity costs to increase for the families and small businesses that fuel our country’s economy.

Coal will remain a key part of our nation’s energy future because of the actions of hardworking Americans who know that regulations against it will hurt our economy and our pocketbooks. Right now, the White House is asking people to Tweet what will happen if taxes go up for their families, using the hash tag #My2K.

If you’re on Twitter, retweet our tweet below, and tell the White House: Regulations that hurt coal are a tax on families. Spread the word to your friends and family, and be sure to get involved!

Regulations that hurt coal are a tax on families! #My2K http://t.co/RXG0h3vj
@AmericasPower
America's Power


Powering Iowa with Coal

Penn State University’s Dr. Frank Clemente recently authored a very interesting look into the rapid expansion of data centers in Iowa. Data centers are a central part of American life as more and data is stored remotely, to be accessed by our mobile phones or computers. These data centers are big business: Google has invested about $1.1 billion dollars in data centers in Iowa alone. And as Dr. Clemente explains:

There are nine other major data centers in Iowa, including a Microsoft operation. And Altoona, Iowa, officials will announce any day the secret identity of a company planning to build yet another data center, a $1.5 billion beast — my guess, Facebook.

For many, plugging in to the internet is the same as turning on a light – if we flick a switch and nothing happens, we feel as if something has gone wrong. To fuel that level of demand, data centers must always be running. That demands a reliable, and inexpensive, source of electricity. As Dr. Clemente explains, “For the record, coal provides 70 percent of Iowa’s low-cost highly reliable power.”  


 Source: Energy-Facts.org/Iowa Utilities Board 

Read this fascinating look at how data centers, which are fueling our new way of life, are fueled by affordable, abundant coal. And learn more about how coal is fueling your state by looking at our state map.

 


The People of Naturita and Nucla

With 2012 winding down, we’re revisiting some of the hardworking Americans we spoke with throughout the year about the importance of affordable electricity.

Shawna Sinks. Tanya Narramore. Chuck Zunich. Howard Kettle. Don Colcord.

Coloradoans in Nucla and Naturita depend on the coal industry for their livelihood. Whether they’re working in the mines or running a store in the community, these small town residents rely on the local coal plant for their economic success and survival.

EPA regulations are threatening the coal-fueled power plant that powers the economy of these small towns. Despite being one of the best performing power plants for mercury emissions, the plant is still in danger.

“If the power plant shut down, I would probably lose my house, my truck…everything,” says Tanya, an equipment operator at New Horizons Mine.

It’s not just people working in the coal industry in these towns that are at risk, it’s the shops and businesses supporting these operations will also suffer.

“If you wipe out 150 jobs, when you only have a town of 600 people… you’re going to have a ghost town,” says Don Colcord, a local business owner.

 


Energy Impacts Todd and Maria

With 2012 winding down, we’re revisiting some of the hardworking Americans we spoke with throughout the year about the importance of affordable electricity.

Todd Westby and Maria Tworek are two small business owners in Omaha, Nebraska. While one operates a specialty food business and the other runs a family-owned sports bar, both two are largely impacted by the cost of energy in their state. They’re concerned about rising energy prices.

“We see outside pressures from a cost perspective…At some point, we have to pass costs on to customers, and when that happens, we have that concern that customers aren’t going to buy anymore,” says Todd.

In a state where more than 70 percent of electricity comes from coal, Todd and Maria’s energy bills will be largely impacted by EPA regulations coming down the pike.  It’s not just Nebraska, either. States across the country will feel thenegative impact of these regulations, causing rates to increase by double digits in some instances.

“There are solutions out there,” says Maria. “Something needs to be done, and something needs to be done fairly quickly.”


Keep Fighting for Affordable Electricity

The presidential election may be over, but that doesn’t mean Americans should stop fighting for affordable electricity, American Jobs and reliable energy.

Over half a million Americans work in the coal industry, holding reliable jobs that provide food for the table, a warm home in the winter and an education for future generations.  America cannot afford to put more of its people out of work.

As I noted in the Christian Science Monitor, we must continue to fight for American jobs, affordable electricity and this abundant home-grown energy resource.

If the president is serious about making our country competitive, he will help to overturn these rules. If the president is serious about making our manufacturers more competitive, he will give them more long-term  certainty and keep their costs down by overturning these rules. And if the president is serious about helping families, then he will keep their electricity costs down by keeping coal a central part of the American energy mix.

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Power on Tap

Coal has been the backbone of American electricity.  Electricity is generated by two distinct techniques – base load and peaking power generation.  Base load refers to is the energy that keeps the electricity grid flowing consistently, meeting constant demand. It’s power on tap.

Coal accounts for a large percentage of all electricity generated in the U.S., providing the largest amount of base load power that fueled our economy.  While other sources of energy are able to contribute to meet peak demand periods, coal provides consistent and affordable base load energy. Coal is always there to keep the power flowing.

Clean coal is the smart choice for now and future generation’s base load electricity – allowing businesses to keep their doors open and critical structures like hospitals to care for those in need.

The bottom line: coal is an abundant, reliable and affordable domestic resource that will provide power for future Americans. Now Is the Time for us to use this resource.


Clean Coal in Mississippi

Coal provides the energy that America needs to keep our businesses competitive, our schools open, and critical infrastructure like hospitals running.

Companies are investing in America’s future by opening new, cutting-edge coal-fueled power plants.  Watch this short video below to learn what Mississippi Power’s new Kemper County energy facility is accomplishing for the Magnolia State.

The Kemper County plant will ensure affordable, clean energy will be available in Mississippi.  Mississippi Power is installing technologies into their facility that will capture 65 percent of all carbon emissions. Some of that captured carbon will be used to make oilfields more productive – doubling down on American energy independence. And, the Kemper plant project alone has created over 12,000 jobs.

It’s imperative that new clean coal facilities like Mississippi Power’s Kemper Plant continue to be built across America, providing American’s with jobs and clean, affordable and abundant energy.


Moving Our Economy Forward

With the election now behind us, we are looking for positive next steps to get our country’s economy moving.

Seven EPA regulations will cost the country more than $200 billion and cause at least 700,000 jobs to disappear. If the president is serious about making our country competitive, he will help to overturn these rules. If the president is serious about making our manufacturers more competitive, he will give them more long-term  certainty and keep their costs down by overturning these rules. And if the president is serious about helping families, then he will keep their electricity costs down by keeping coal a central part of the American energy mix.

During the campaign, we heard the president tout his support of coal, and we are hopeful that he will work moving forward to let the coal industry once again thrive. But we have reason wary: While  the president was talking, cabinet-level agencies were working on onerous regulations that will hurt the coal industry, our economy, and the families and businesses that depend on the both.

We are certain, however, that if regulations continue to harm our economy, our many advocates will continue to help make our  need for coal an important topic for the next four years.