Last week at the Platts Coal Properties & Investment conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Stephen Braverman, vice president for coal services, at DTE Coal Services predicted that “No matter what, the U.S. is still going to have a viable domestic coal industry.”
According to Platts, Braverman said “the end result of the slew of new regulations facing the industry will be bigger units that burn more coal.”
Braverman said, he predicts a 4% drop in coal-fired generation by 2020, and that older, high-heat rate plants are more at risk of being shuttered.
But larger, more efficient coal-fired plants will continue to operate and provide baseload generation, Braverman said.
That’s why affordable, stable electricity from coal is essential to this country. We need this natural resource—there is more than two centuries of coal in the U.S.—to keep the doors open at small businesses, power our hospitals and keep assembly lines running at manufacturing plants across the country.
America has depended on the reliable and abundant coal that comes from our land and powers our lives for more than a century. With the energy in America’s coal reserves being roughly equal to the world’s known oil reserves, it’s clear that coal should continue to be a reliable source of electricity for all of us.
The Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing yesterday in the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing was entitled, “American Energy Security and Innovation: The Role of a Diverse Electricity Generation Portfolio” and below are a few of the statements regarding the role of coal-based electricity presented during yesterday’s testimony:
Mark McCullough, Executive Vice President of Generation, AEP
“For over a century, AEP has been a pioneer in the development of advanced coal-fueled generation technologies, which include many first-in-the-world accomplishments that have set the standard for combustion efficiencies, emissions control, and system performance.”
John McClure, Vice President for Government Affairs and General Counsel, Nebraska Public Power District
“What many do not realize is coal remains a more competitively priced fuel for certain regions of the country due to the proximity of supply, especially in the central and western U.S. Natural gas may be a great option if your power plant is located near a robust network of gas pipelines, but unfortunately many of the existing coal plants do not have access to pipeline capacity to convert from coal to natural gas.
Coal has been a mainstay of our Nation’s generating mix, and the Energy Information Administration continues to show coal as an important part of a diverse fuel mix for the coming decades.”
Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY-1)
“The EPA, without question, has established an unfortunate trend line, methodically establishing a regulatory framework to eliminate coal, and taking away diversity choices from utilities throughout the country.”
Rep. Steve Scalise (LA-1)
“The government is picking winners and losers and those that lose are the families that will pay higher electricity costs.”
The Business Roundtable (BRT) outlined its priorities in a new report. Although many of the recommendations have been talked about, members of the BRT Roundtable said they hope the new Congress and President Barack Obama’s will make progress on their agenda, including recommendations for the EPA:
“Ensuring that EPA regulations are based on sound science, undergo thorough net cost-benefit analysis, and take into consideration the net cumulative impact these regulations have on energy costs, economic growth and job creation, while being protective of human health and the environment.”
“Carefully evaluating the timing and cumulative impact of EPA regulations on the electric utility industry and, as appropriate, modifying these regulations to ensure continued reliability, avoid unreasonable rate impacts, and maintain a diverse, market-driven portfolio of baseload electricity generation fuel options.”
The BRT is an association of chief executive officers from many leading U.S. companies with over $6 trillion in annual revenues and more than 14 million employees. Their companies generate an estimated $420 billion in sales for small and medium-sized businesses annually. BRT members comprise nearly a third of the total value of the U.S. stock market and invest more than $150 billion annually in research and development — nearly half of all private U.S. R&D spending.
As talks heat up about who will be nominated to be the next EPA Administrator, the nominee will need to listen to voices like the BRT and take these recommendations into consideration and understand that it’s best to take a common sense action to protect the environment while not harming American jobs and consumers.
As we’ve said before, the next head of the EPA needs to fully analyze and understand the full, cumulative economic impacts of its regulations. American jobs are at stake, as well as access to affordable, reliable electricity that is a pillar to our economic recovery.
BRT companies pay $163 billion in dividends to shareholders and give nearly $9 billion a year in combined charitable contributions.