Earlier this week, I blogged about my experience at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s annual convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hispanic business owners who attended the event were especially interested in how the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon standards could impact the future of technology and innovation in America, particularly when it comes to fossil fuels.
Clean coal technologies provide investment, jobs and business opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses across the country. One of the most pertinent issues for minority firms is how to harness these opportunities and benefit from clean coal technologies. We all know the environmental benefits of more efficient baseload coal-fired electric generation: fewer emissions and greater efficiencies. There are, however, a number of economic benefits, like improvements in reliability of power, stable electric rates and opportunities for business to partner with the expansion of clean coal technologies.
This is not to say that renewables and other forms of baseload power do not provide similar benefits as clean coal technologies, but all fuels have a place in the American electricity generation mix and no one should be singled out as a winner or a loser. The wholesale abandonment of a diverse mix of energy sources will dramatically change the economic realities of energy affordability and reliability in America. The further development and dissemination of clean coal technologies, therefore, is essential for continued economic growth here at home and around the world. Regulations should reflect that reality, especially if we truly want to reduce emissions, which is a global issue, not just an American one.
America should lead the way in developing clean coal technologies such as carbon capture and storage. America should be the leader in getting other countries to adopt OUR technologies for carbon management, just as American business should be given a chance to grow as the nation takes the lead in carbon management strategies for electric power.
The regulatory environment must foster such innovation. Hispanic businesses and other minority businesses cannot base growth on using less abundant, less reliable and more expensive electricity. Importantly, the global community cannot endure such a course of action given that China, India and Sub-Saharan Africa will utilize more coal-fired electricity and will need American ingenuity to mitigate environmental effects.
EPA’s proposed regulations are connected to regulatory processes on every level of government—from policymakers in Washington, D.C. to state-level public service commissions to local co-ops and municipalities. It is critical that all Americans who stand to be impacted (that is: all Americans) weigh in on this important issue. We must ensure that EPA hears our concerns in the form of comments to the federal docket, as well as through conversations with local and state elected officials. We should use everything at our disposal to improve our environment, economy and opportunities. Leaving clean coal technologies behind will hamper those efforts. Get involved.