Today we’re starting a new initiative to help people learn more about how crucial coal is to our energy future. Each week we’re going to release a new coal fact on Facebook that illustrates how coal plays a critical role in providing reliable, affordable energy, powers American industry and supports our communities.
Our first fact is about the progress we’ve made over the past few decades in reducing emissions.
It’s our hope that more people will come to understand just how much we need coal here in the U.S. and stand with us to oppose things like the EPA trying to regulate our industry away. You can take action today by signing our letter to the EPA opposing their proposed new source performance standards.
This morning the Wall Street Journal ran my op-ed “New EPA Regulations Will Kill Clean Coal”.
Here at ACCCE, we work directly with members of the coal-based electricity industry. This gives us a firsthand look at how the new EPA regulations are putting Americans companies out of business and the American people out of work.
The fact is that the EPA’s announced rules aren’t realistic for our industry.
The new rules will require the use of carbon capture and storage technology on a massive scale and while CCS holds great promise for the future of our industry, this technology is still in its infancy.
The coal-based electricity sector is working with the government to further develop CCS technology and demonstrate that it can operate safely and reliably at large plants, but we’re not there yet.
The United States currently has only one first-generation CCS project. This first-generation technology is promising but still very expensive to operate, so a requirement that every new coal-fueled plant must deploy this technology amounts to a de facto ban on the construction of new coal plants.
An end to new coal plants would by extension mean an end to the development of CCS, among the most innovative clean coal technologies ever developed. If the United States quits on coal and clean coal technology, countries like China stand to benefit.
As an industry, our record on developing new cleaner technologies speaks for itself. There are at least 15 different clean coal technologies being used today by our coal fleet and those advancements have helped reduce emissions by nearly 90% since 1970.
This Administration is saying they support clean coal technology, but then pushing policies that would undermine its development. If the Obama administration is truly committed to clean energy, clean coal technology and CCS, then the EPA has to give the industry time to develop this technology and make it commercially viable.
What do Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Fulton, Arkansas have in common?
They both understand the importance of clean coal technology and rely on it every day. That is why Dale Jr. visited the John W. Turk Plant, where two-thirds of the employees are local residents. The Turk Plant is the first plant to use ultra-supercritical technology in the United States and is the cleanest coal-fueled power plant in the country.
The Turk Plant is an excellent example of how coal can help a community thrive economically and reduce its emissions.
Dale Jr. got a first-hand look into the daily operations of the plant where he saw them use technology to make their plant better, just like he uses technology to make his racing team perform better.
As a business owner and an energy consumer, Dale Jr. recognizes the importance of affordable and reliable energy from clean coal.
Learn more about Dale’s visit to the Turk plant, and check out our videos from his trip here.
Originally posted on Climatewire
A proposed project to capture 90 percent of carbon dioxide from the W.A. Parish power planet near Houston, Texas was awarded $167 million yesterday by the Department of Energy, says ClimateWire.
This project is set to be the first of its kind in commercial use of carbon capture and sequestration CCS technology on a coal generator. Amid a current environment of diminished stimulus funding and lackluster carbon incentives, this project will succeed projects from Mississippi Power’s Kemper project and SaskPower’s Boundary Dam project in Canada that are currently under construction.
“The proposed project would help [the department] meet its congressionally mandated mission to support advanced clean-coal technology projects,” states the decision.
The Texas project is planning to have the capture unit of the existing plant operational in 2015. The estimated CO2 captured is said to equate 1.6 million tons per year from the plant’s exhaust, which would otherwise have been emitted to the atmosphere. Older plants will be the source of most coal emissions in coming decades.
The Midwest has seen a significant uptick in coal output, and as the Wall Street Journal reported today, its recent “comeback” has powered new jobs and economic activity in the region.
The article attributes coal’s surge in this region to clean coal technologies that have enabled mining companies to access more broadly the Midwest’s vast deposits of coal. As Vic Svec, of Peabody Energy, noted in the article, “The widespread deployment of scrubbers [installed on coal-fueled power plants] removes the major barrier—sulfur dioxide—to Illinois Basin coal use.”
As many in the article go on to say, the ramped up production of coal from the Illinois Basin is not only giving communities access to affordable, reliable American-made energy, but it’s also creating jobs and spurring economic growth.
David A. Meyer, chairman of the county board of Washington County, IL, said the project has given the area a much-needed boost and has provided “permanent good-paying jobs, some of them very high-tech.” Indeed, one coal mine in a farming community southeast of St. Louis added 580 jobs and helped fund a high school and court building. In McLeansboro, 70 miles to the east, a mine under construction has brought jobs and several new businesses to the area.
Integrated coal gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) plants power many communities throughout the country. This clean coal technology converts coal to a synthetic gas that is then combusted in a combined-cycle system, one of the most efficient in commercial use today, meaning more energy and less emissions from coal-fueled power plants.
IGCC can achieve thermal efficiencies that exceed 40 percent, thus emitting as much as 30 percent less carbon dioxide. IGCC plants also have very low SO2, NOX, particulate matter, and mercury emissions – making them some of the cleanest plants in the United States – using our nation’s most affordable and abundant domestic fuel resource – coal.
Among the plants that will be using IGCC technology is the Edwardsport Station in Indiana, which is expected to begin commercial operation by the middle of this year. “The 618-megawatt IGCC facility will be one of the cleanest and most efficient coal-fired power plants in the world.”
In North Dakota, Basin Electric Power Cooperative owns and operates a plant employing gasification technology. The Great Plains Synfuels Plant – the cleanest energy plant operating in the state – is “a model of how coal can be used to produce energy in an efficient and environmentally responsible manner.”
In Kemper County, Mississippi, Southern Company is building a 582-megawatt transport integrated gasification (TRIG) plant that will deploy technology to capture 65 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions from the plant, using the state’s four billion ton reserve of lignite coal.
Just another way clean coal technologies are powering our energy future.
Coal Gasification is the process of converting coal into synthetic “natural” gas by a process using incomplete combustion to create carbon monoxide (CO). The CO is transformed into a substitute natural gas through chemical interaction with a catalyst for use as a fuel or further processing and concentration into an industrial feed stock or liquid fuel.
The Department of Energy states that coal gasification offers one of the most versatile and clean ways to convert coal into electricity, hydrogen, and other valuable energy products. Gasification, in fact, may be one of the most flexible technologies to produce clean-burning hydrogen for tomorrow’s automobiles and power-generating fuel cells. Hydrogen and other coal gases can also be used to fuel power-generating turbines, or as the chemical “building blocks” for a wide range of commercial products.
The capability to produce electricity, hydrogen, chemicals, or various combinations while eliminating nearly all air pollutants and potentially greenhouse gas emissions makes coal gasification one of the most promising technologies for energy plants of the future.
A recent story from Power Engineering International says that GE Power & Water developed a new innovation aimed at assisting coal-fueled power plants in further reducing their emissions.
The article states, “The air-filtration media technology involves bi-component felt media for construction of fabric filters used in coal-fired boiler baghouses. There continues to be a pressing demand for further innovations in clean coal technology, as the fossil fuel continues to show resilience as an energy source, despite the continuing progress towards renewable energy.”
Over the last several decades, the coal-based electricity industry has invested billions to clean the air, and the results are that emissions of major pollutants from coal-fueled power plants have been reduced by nearly 90 percent per unit of electricity generated.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal will continue to account for the largest share of electricity generation through 2040. And the International Energy Agency reports that even though coal demand growth has slowed in the U.S., coal’s share of the global energy mix is still rising, and by 2017 coal will come close to surpassing oil as the world’s top energy source.