Posts filed under Statistics

Spotlight on States: Texas

As America’s second-largest state with a population of nearly 27 million, Texas certainly has the right to describe itself as big. The state’s electricity demand can also be described as such, because it takes a lot of power to meet Texas’ growing energy needs. To keep lights on across the Lone Star State, Texas relies on affordable, reliable energy from coal to generate 34 percent of its electricity.

Harnessing the power of coal is especially beneficial for Texas’ ratepayers, as it helps keep the state’s electricity prices more than 8 percent below the national average. This is hugely helpful to the 4,000,000 low-income families who call the state home and are living on only $2,000 each month. Texans also have ample opportunities to find quality employment in the coal industry, as it provides 41,560 direct and indirect jobs.

Sadly, another thing that can be described as big is the threat the Environmental Protection Agency’s finalized carbon regulations pose to Texas. If left unchallenged, these rules will force the state to shutter its coal power plants in favor of more costly and less reliable energy sources. Consequently, electricity rates for families and businesses will shoot up, while the loss of coal-related jobs will cause employment prospects to take a nose dive.

State leaders recognize the negative implications of EPA’s rule and are putting up a Texas-sized fight to stop the agency’s vast power grab. Attorney General Ken Paxton vowed to sue EPA should the agency continue on its unlawful path.

Less than three weeks ago, Dr. Bryan Shaw, a former EPA staffer and now chair of Texas’ Department of Environmental Quality, offered his expert opinion on EPA’s rule to Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Environment. According to Shaw, “the resulting effect of increased cost of power and power shortages, such as rolling blackouts, would…jeopardize the personal and economic health of Texas citizens.”

Whether a state is the size of Texas, or the size of Iowa, deciding how to best meet electricity demand is a big decision that should be made by those who know their state best. Allowing EPA to make these decisions only serves to jeopardize our nation’s energy and economic security. Its crucial states like Texas continue to stand up to EPA’s harmful regulations and fight for America’s right to continue benefiting from affordable, readily available coal-based electricity.

Spotlight on States: Nevada

As part of his recent climate change tour, President Obama traveled to Las Vegas last month for Senator Harry Reid’s National Clean Energy Summit. The president touted his administration’s recent environmental regulations during his remarks, declaring his carbon plan will have a positive effect on states like Nevada. We decided to take a closer look at the reality of Nevada’s energy needs and economy in comparison to President Obama’s claims.

  • Energy Choices: The president claims his plan will give consumers the “freedom” to choose “more efficient” forms of energy. To meet the emissions reduction target outlined in the plan, however, Nevada will be forced to use more expensive (and less efficient) intermittent sources of energy favored by the Environmental Protection Agency. In reality, the state, and consequently its consumers, actually have very little freedom at all under the rule.

    Congressman Cresent Hardy
    put it well when he stated that “Nevada and other states should continue to lead the way to safely and responsibly develop options tailored to [their] unique resources.” Like other states, Nevada’s energy portfolio is designed to meet its own energy needs and achieved this balance on its own – not as a result of heavy-handed mandates from Washington, D.C.

As the administration continues its push to sell its costly carbon plan, it will be especially critical to dive deeper into the real impact the regulation will have on the states. The decisions state officials make about the plan will have a lasting effect on the well-being of the families and businesses that call these places home.

When EPA Can Pick and Choose, We All Lose

How many times have you watched a sporting event and been convinced the referees officiating the game made calls unfairly favoring one team over another? Just as referees are supposed to call games objectively and without bias, government should stay out of the business of picking winners and losers.

In its final carbon rule, however, the Environmental Protection Agency did just that when it imposed on 22 states more stringent emission reduction requirements than originally proposed.

Final Rule Percentage Map_FINAL_08.28.15

All of these states – except Rhode Island which has no coal-fired electricity generation – rely on coal to maintain affordable electricity prices. The collective average retail electricity price for the 21 coal-reliant “biggest loser” states was 12 percent below the national average in 2014. In contrast, Rhode Island’s electricity price was 49 percent above the national average.

EPA’s picking and choosing amounts to a big loss for consumers in all states forced to reduce CO2 emissions, but it hits the “biggest loser” states especially hard. Rising energy costs and declining family incomes are already straining the budgets of America’s lower- and middle-income families. Households with pre-tax annual incomes below $50,000, representing 48 percent of the nation’s households, already spend 17 percent of their after-tax income on energy costs. Many of these families are forced to make tough choices when their energy bill arrives each month. EPA’s carbon rule makes those decisions that much more difficult.

EPA’s pursuit of its illegal plan follows a dangerous trend of government agencies picking winners and losers in the energy marketplace. No matter where you live, this amounts to the makings of something much worse than just a bad call. When government is allowed to pick and choose, we all lose.

EIA Projects Coal Generation Gains

In an article from yesterday’s Power Magazine, the magazine states that the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that coal generation will gain in 2013 due to the rising price of natural gas.

According to the article: “The increasing cost of natural gas relative to coal is expected to increase coal’s share of total generation from 37.4% in 2012 to 39.9% in 2013, according to the EIA April release of its Short-Term Energy Outlook.

Though that would leave coal’s percentage below its 42.3% share in 2011, it indicates that gas may not be on an inevitable path to overtake a significantly greater share of the generation pie.”

Just today, a dedication ceremony was held for the John W. Turk Plant in Arkansas. The 600-megawatt coal-fueled plant began commercial operations in December 2012 and is one of the cleanest, most efficient coal-fueled plants in the United States, and the first of its kind in operation in the United States.

EIA figures also show that coal consumption will increase both domestically and internationally to meet rising electricity demand during the next several decades, providing the U.S. and other countries with indigenous energy resources.

Coal is Reliable

As Americans, we are fortunate to have unique access to one of the most reliable and efficient forms of energy generation – coal. Across the country, in 48 states to be exact, coal is used to keep our homes warm, our lights on and our power running.

As a form of energy generation, there is no denying that coal is one of the most reliable options we have. In fact, in 2011, coal was responsible for 42 percent of the overall power generation of our energy portfolio – surpassing the power generated by natural gas and nuclear energy combined.

With so much coal located within our borders – 272 billion tons – this reliable form of energy is here to stay for years to come.

For more information on how coal continues to power our lives, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Why We Vote with Coal: Jobs

This election, jobs have been a major issue.  Jobs created, jobs lost, and most importantly jobs needed to get the economy back on track. The coal-based electricity industry alone provides over half a million American jobs, and 1 in 5 rail jobs depend on coal. These numbers would continue to grow if not for the EPA’s aggressive war on coal. Sign our petition and tell candidates to support American jobs.

This week alone, companies have taken a major hit from EPA’s overbearing regulations, forcing more mines to close and putting hundreds out of work.

This is not only unnecessary, but extremely troubling during these though economic times.  Families, communities, and the nation’s economy depend on these jobs.  So why does the EPA continue with its goal to undermine the industry, and more importantly, why has the current administration allowed this trend to continue?

Vote with coal this election! Sign up to tell the candidates that Coal = Jobs.


Not Even the “Worst Case”

With coal plants being forced to shutter due to EPA regulations, there’s a lot to be concerned about—job loss, compliance costs and loss of income.

National Economic Research Associates analyzed the impacts of seven EPA regulations, and the results are startling. With these regulations, we’re facing:

  • U.S. employment losses average between 544,000 a year – 887,000 a year. Peak year employment losses are 700,000 to 2.2 million.
  • Compliance costs for electric utilities will total between $198 billion – $220 billion, and average $15.0 billion – $16.7 billion/year.
  • Families will lose between $200 a household to over $500.

These are conservative estimates. The EPA’s regulatory agenda is killing jobs and harming our economy. With billions in costs, hundreds of thousand or even millions of jobs lost, and additional household expenses, the path forward is clear: Stop these destructive regulations. By keeping electricity prices low for business and families, coal helps to fuel the job creation that we need to get our country back on track.

Read the full report here, and help us support the affordable energy and jobs that coal provides by signing our petition.


Spotlight on Ohio

The War on Coal continues. As President Obama and Mitt Romney are campaigning, the EPA continues to wage a war on the affordable, reliable electricity that America needs. In their campaigns, both candidates have put their focus on the swing state of Ohio, home to dozens of companies and thousands of employees who work to power the country using coal-based electricity.

We took to Ohio to ask people what they thought about the EPA’s actions, and what should be done about it. In our polling, we found that Ohioans were almost monolithic in their opinion.

Almost three-quarters of Ohioans agree that shuttering more coal plants is a bad idea, as is refusing to build more.

With more than 200 coal plants at risk of being shuttered due in part to EPA regulations, it’s clear: we are facing a War on Coal and affordable electricity. This election season your candidates must speak up for coal use in America. Take the pledge today.