NASCAR fans know racing takes a lot of energy. I’m always amazed to see how much goes into preparing for a race. The JR Motorsports crew is constantly working—from powering the tools in the pit to tuning up the cars. Countless activities that keep our operation running require reliable, low-cost electricity.
October is Energy Awareness Month, and joining forces with America’s Power gave me greater awareness of exactly how energy works in America. One of the most important takeaways has been learning about how electricity is generated and consumed in the U.S., which is home to abundant and low-cost fuel sources like coal.
By harnessing these resources, and investing in new technologies to produce electricity in a cleaner manner, we’re fortunate to have a predictable and low-cost power supply. Considering that most Americans can be confident the lights will turn on and the heat will flow when we flip a switch, it’s easy to take this comfort for granted. In other parts of the world, on-demand electricity is a luxury that many do not have.
As a mom of three, I’m keenly aware of my family’s budget. I know when the cost of certain necessities like food and electricity go up, it can be a delicate balancing act to ensure my family isn’t hurt by these fluctuations. Too many of our families across the country, however, aren’t able to meet unexpected costs and must make difficult choices about where their hard-earned dollars are spent.
The importance of affordable energy extends beyond our homes and impacts nearly every aspect of our lives from services and institutions vital to our communities to the food in our children’s lunch boxes. With schools across the country welcoming back students this month, I’m also reminded of the critical role coal-based electricity plays in powering America’s classrooms. From computers, to science labs, to the lights in the gym, affordable energy has a direct impact on our children’s educational experiences.
With the electricity we need at an affordable rate, our cities and counties can pay teachers what they deserve, invest in facilities and focus on what’s important – instead of losing sleep over high power bills. If schools are forced to worry about their budgets because of rising energy costs, essential services too often get cut as a result. These cuts can have a profound effect on our kids’ happiness, health and success in learning.
Consider what affordable energy means for your community and learn more about how you can take action to protect low-cost electricity.
Throughout my partnership with America’s Power, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about the important role coal plays in producing affordable, reliable electricity. One of the most fascinating topics I’ve encountered along the way is clean coal technology, which refers to a number of advanced tools and controls that help coal-fired power plants generate electricity more cleanly and efficiently than ever before.
Growing up around racing, I’ve witnessed how the industry regularly introduces new safety features and modern technologies, while still keeping the sport an enjoyable experience for fans. The same is true in energy, and the coal industry is leading the way when it comes to innovation. At least 15 next-generation technologies are being used today by America’s coal fleet, and by 2017, the coal industry will have invested $142 billion to reduce emissions.
Like Dale Jr. and Regan, I’m encouraged to know our country is at the forefront of these important clean energy advancements, and that we’re working to ensure America is able to use our most abundant energy resource for generations to come.
In our house, the Fourth of July isn’t just a time for food, family, fun and fireworks. It’s a time to reflect on our nation’s freedom and thank the active duty service men and women, as well as our veterans, who have sacrificed to keep our country safe and secure.
We’re proud to count many active members of the military and veterans as fans of NASCAR and JR Motorsports. We love meeting them and thanking them for their service to our nation.
The coal industry has a tremendous legacy of veteran support too, and is a proud leader in veteran employment. From mining in Kentucky and West Virginia, to hauling coal across America’s railways, to building cutting-edge power generation facilities, the coal industry has always welcomed veterans as valuable employees and leaders.
This Fourth of July, the teams at JR Motorsports and America’s Power thank the members of our armed forces both here in the U.S. and stationed abroad. We know that without you we wouldn’t be celebrating this holiday weekend – or any weekend – under the blanket of freedom we all appreciate.
From schools to hospitals to homes, affordable energy is critical to communities from coast to coast. Through our work with America’s Power, the JR Motorsports team has gained a deep appreciation for low-cost, coal-based electricity, and we’ve given a lot of thought to how this issue touches each of our lives. As business owners, Dale Jr. and I are more aware of the importance of affordable energy from coal to keep our costs low and expenses in check. For Regan, whose grandfather sold coal in upstate New York, the subject is even more personal; the coal industry actually provided his family’s livelihood.
Every person has a unique story about how affordable power impacts his or her family and community. This is the basis for America’s Power’s Share Your Story initiative, which encourages supporters to speak about what low-cost electricity means to them. As a mom, I related to Pam M. from Kentucky, who said “Coal means food on the table, a roof over our head and keeping our energy bills lower.”
Hundreds of people from across the country have already shared their story. While the responses are all unique, they reveal a common message: we must protect coal-based electricity and support the people who work hard to keep the lights on in our homes and communities.
So, what does affordable power mean to you? Join Dale Jr., Regan and me, as well as hundreds of other supporters from across the country, and share your story with us.
As a mother of three, I know how challenging it can be to balance our family’s hectic schedule alongside paying the bills. When bills rise unexpectedly, it puts the brakes on a family’s budget.
This is especially true of rising bills that come from necessities like electricity. It’s worrisome when we see electricity rates rising because this expense directly hits parents’ pocketbooks. Money that would be spent on summer camp, college savings and family vacations among other activities has to be diverted just to keep the lights on at home.
We’re glad that North Carolina’s electricity rates are nearly 11 percent lower than the national average, which is largely attributable to our state’s use of coal to generate low-cost, reliable power. Our partner, America’s Power, is committed to ensuring that we all have access to affordable, reliable power no matter where we live as no one should be left in the dark or facing bills they can ill afford to pay.
Until I check back in again in May, I hope you will join me in learning more about coal-based electricity and the role it plays not just in your daily life but in your communities too.
On the race track and in the office, my brother Dale Jr. and I work hard to ensure JR Motorsports runs smoothly. The dependable, low-cost electricity powering our business is a big part of that effort.
I was excited to join America’s Power last month as a guest blogger. In my first post, I discussed the importance of reliable electricity and the critical role it plays in my life as a business owner, mom and member of my community. This month, I’m excited to celebrate women in the energy industry who help power our lives—an appropriate topic since March is International Women’s History Month.
Thousands of women are employed in the coal mining, railroad and power utility industries in America, a fact that too often gets overlooked. Careers in the coal industry provide high-paying, stable jobs for skilled workers with tremendous opportunity for advancement and growth. With our society’s efforts to encourage girls to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Math careers, more commonly known as “STEM,” energy jobs are a place where they can gain such skills and in turn help shape America’s energy future.
Investments in energy production are funding cutting-edge technologies and programs that will need the next generation of leaders at the helm. With more than 250 years’ worth of coal within our borders, it’s important that these opportunities be extended to many more generations of women in the future.
I’m thankful to women energy workers not only because their work ensures I have the power I need to do my job, but because they are important role models to our girls who want to dream big and build a career in these fields.
Thanks for reading, and see you in April for my next installment on Behind the Plug.
27 March 2015, 11:59 am |
Posted in Guest Posts |
I’m Kelley Earnhardt Miller, and I co-own JR Motorsports along with my brother Dale Jr. JR Motorsports has partnered with America’s Power for the last three seasons, and we’re looking forward to another great year on and off the track in 2015.
This year, I’m excited to pen a new monthly series for the Behind the Plug blog, where I’ll explore how the important mission of America’s Power—protecting affordable, reliable and increasingly clean electricity from coal—impacts my everyday life as a business owner, mom and member of my community.
Through JR Motorsports’ partnership with America’s Power, I’ve had the opportunity to learn how electricity is generated and the vital role coal plays in the process. Right here in North Carolina, the home of JR Motorsports’ headquarters, coal is responsible for providing nearly 40 percent of our low-cost, reliable electricity.
When temperatures drop as they have across the country this winter, Americans are relieved to know that when they flip a switch, the lights will come on. But behind the electricity that powers homes and businesses are the energy workers who ensure that our power stays on when we need it most. As Dale Jr. says in this month’s featured video, these hard-working men and women “keep the lights on and the cold at bay.”
The 2015 NASCAR season opener is just a few days away, and on behalf of JR Motorsports, I can’t wait to begin another season with America’s Power. Thanks for reading, and check back next month for my new post on Behind the Plug.
Mike Duncan is the president and CEO for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting the use of coal...
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Laura Sheehan Senior Vice President
Laura Sheehan is a seasoned public affairs expert with more than a 20-year track record in policy communications, media relations, crisis and issues management, community and...
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China Riddle Communications Coordinator
China Riddle is a Communications Coordinator at ACCCE. Growing up in the heart of coal country, China understands the important role coal-based power plays in America’s energy and economic future. Read Full Biography +
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