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.
Carbon capture and storage technologies make it possible to reduce emissions while ensuring a reliable supply of affordable electricity to meet America’s growing energy needs using America’s most abundant, domestically produced fuel. But that captured carbon can be used commercially to help other energy industries.
Balanced Energy For Texas recently wrote about the carbon capture and storage process that the Tenaska Trailblazer Energy Center will be using as well as how captured carbon can benefit the oil & gas industry:
Did you know that enhanced oil recovery using carbon captured by clean coal technology could result in $5.25 billion per year in economic growth? … Not only does clean coal technology provide affordable, reliable electricity, it will soon help Texas harness previously inaccessible oil resources … Captured CO2 is a valuable commodity. Naturally occurring CO2 imported from other states is currently being used throughout Texas for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). EOR allows oil companies to produce additional oil from existing reservoirs that cannot be recovered using conventional means. In a conventional oil reservoir, only 20 to 50 percent of the oil in the reservoir can be produced by drilling and flowing/pumping. This means that 50 to 80 percent of the oil is stranded underground and, without EOR, can never be used.
Advanced coal technologies are also progressing when it comes to reducing traditional pollutant emissions. Penn Energy’s Optimization Blog interviewed NeuCo Product Manger Rob James discussed his company’s partnership with the Department of Energy’s Clean Coal Power Initiative:
Given the ambitiousness of this project and the huge number of moving parts, I’m proud of how we were able to adapt to the changing set of constraints in a way that provided a lot of utility and met a key set of investigative goals. For instance, we had to respond to changing economic drivers, such as the changing cost-benefit relationship between NOx and heat rate and changes in the value of NOx and SO2 credits, as well as a range of equipment and instrumentation constraints.
Advanced coal technologies also mean jobs.According to a study ACCCE commissioned last May, the deployment of advanced coal technologies would create or support more than 150,000 jobs nationally, and 1.7 million job-years of labor would be created through construction of those technologies. Click here to learn more about the history and benefits of advanced coal technologies.
At the Department of Energy, the National Energy Technology Laboratory is beginning research into new information technologies that would help commercialize carbon capture and storage projects faster. The Carbon Capture Journal reports that industry, government and academic institutions are working together to bring new, cost-effective CCS technologies to market:
The Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has begun research under the Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative (CCSI), partnering with other national laboratories, universities, and industry to develop computational modeling and simulation tools to accelerate commercialization of CCS technologies … While the ultimate goal of the CCSI is to deliver a set of tools that can simulate scale-up of a broad suite of new carbon capture technologies, from laboratory to commercial scale, the first 5 years of the project will focus on developing capabilities applicable to oxy-combustion and post-combustion capture by solid sorbents and advanced solvents … The CCSI’s industrial partners represent the power generation industry and power equipment manufacturers. The initial industrial partners are ADA Environmental Solutions, Alstom Power, Ameren, Babcock Power, Babcock & Wilcox, Chevron, EPRI, Eastman, Fluor, General Electric, Ramgen Power Systems, and Southern Company.
Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu testified at a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing yesterday, explaining why he continues to see government play a role in advanced coal technology investments:
A wholly-owned subsidiary of Dallas, Texas-based Denbury Resources Inc. has entered into a contract to purchase 70 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from Mississippi Power Company’s Kemper County Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle project … Mississippi Power will capture, clean, compress and deliver an estimated 115 million cubic feet per day of CO2 to Denbury’s Heidelberg Field. First deliveries are expected in 2014.
Advanced coal technologies also allow our federal government and our private sector work with other governments and companies abroad. The Clean Techies blog explains that U.S.-Chinese cooperation on carbon capture and storage projects is one of the top collaborations between the two countries in the clean energy technology sector:
[The] 21st Century Coal Program (CERC-ACTV) promotes a cleaner use of coal resources, such as large-scale carbon capture and storage projects. The program calls for collaboration between a number of companies in the United States, including General Electric, AES, and Peabody Energy, which will be working with a number of Chinese companies to develop an integrated gasification combined cycle power plants, methane capture, as well as a number of other technologies.
The employment impact of moving to a new generation of advanced coal technology is well documented and impressive. We know these are good jobs from a long track record of employment in the related construction, manufacturing, maintenance and operational aspects of power generating facilities
Click here for more information on how CCS technologies work.
The Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, based in Australia, just released their report on The Global Status of CCS in 2010. This report goes through different opportunities and challenges of CCS activities in several different countries, and makes recommendation on how countries can move from research and development to commercial deployment of these advanced coal technologies.
While the United States has been working with other countries, like Australia, to develop carbon capture and storage technologies, we have been leading the way when it comes to fully developing those projects. Energy Efficiency News reports:
The number of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects around the world increased by 21 during 2010 taking the total to 234, up 10% on the previous year, according a new report. The report, The Global Status of CCS: 2010, from Australia’s Global CCS Institute finds that of the total, 77 are fully-integrated large-scale projects … [T]he US continues to lead the way with 39 of the total 77 large-scale projects … Within Europe, Norway, the UK and the Netherlands are leading the vanguard with 11 large-scale projects in development.
The United States continues to be a world leader in advanced coal technologies not only because of the investments we make. Our leaders also recognize that advanced coal technologies need to be developed in order to continue to use of one of the world’s most abundant resources with as small of an environmental impact as possible. Just last week, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said to the Senate Budget Committee:
The world will continue to rely on coal-fired electrical generation to meet energy demand. It is imperative that the United States develop the technology to ensure that base-load electricity generation is as clean and reliable as possible.
Plus, taxpayers reap the benefits of our investments into CCS projects. In a 2009 ACCCE-commissioned study, American taxpayers see a quick and significant return on federal investments in advanced coal technologies, gaining $13 in benefits for every dollar the government invests. Learn more about how CCS technologies work from Dan Connell of Consol Energy here.
There’s a buzz in Hempstead, a county of almost 23,000 residents in the southwest corner of Arkansas. There about 1,600 workers are busily striving to complete the last half of a 600-megawatt baseload power plant, SWEPCO’s John W. Turk, Jr. Plant.
They’re about 56 percent through the process of constructing what will be one of the cleanest, most efficient coal-fueled plants in America.
In the above video Venita McCellon-Allon, President and COO of SWEPCO, shares how Hempstead is already enjoying the economic benefits brought by construction and operation of a new power plant. She also introduces the Arkansas Coalition for Affordable and Reliable Electricity – ACARE.
The coalition isn’t just made up of industry representatives and elected officials, and it’s not only the 1,600 currently working on the construction of the plant (expected to be 1,900 at peak) or the 110 people who will enjoy well-paying, stable jobs once the plant is complete.
ACARE is a coalition of local businesses, community leaders, and utility coop customers in Southwestern Arkansas who are supporting the Turk project through to its completion in 2012. In this video Matt Adcock, Superintendent of Mineral Springs Schools in Hempstead, shares how he’s seen improvements in his town since Turk construction began:
President Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard are holding bilateral discussions today at the White House, talking about our two countries’ joint political and economic interests.
One of the economic interests that the American and Australian private sectors have been collaborating on are technologies that allow us to use coal, one of the world’s most affordable and reliable energy sources, with an increasingly smaller environmental footprint.
In Texas, Australia’s Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute is involved in a study to see how best to provide carbon capture technology for Tenaska’s Trailblazer coal plant. The Abilene Reporter-News reports:
To build support for the Nolan County coal-fired plant, Tenaska has touted economic benefits like 100 permanent jobs and 1,500 jobs at the peak of the plant’s five-year construction period … Work is under way on an engineering and design study for the carbon capture technology to be used in the plant. The study, being done by Irving-based Fluor, which Tenaska has said will provide the carbon capture technology used in the Trailblazer plant, could be completed by mid-year, Manroe said. She said the study is being funded through a grant from the Australia-based Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute. The grant, announced in October, is for $7.7 million, and Manroe said a Tenaska official had traveled to Australia to talk about Tenaska’s progress with the project.
In Illinois, an alliance of companies, including those from America and Australia, just announced their decision for Meredosia County to host the carbon storage facility for the FutureGen 2.0 project. The Jacksonville Journal-Courier [IL] reports:
It’s easy to see how Meredosia is on the map worldwide when looking at FutureGen 2.0, the only project in the world that has international participation with companies from as far as London, China and Australia. These companies make up the FutureGen Alliance, a non-profit group that first partnered with the Department of Energy in 2005 and now play the role in building a pipeline infrastructure from the Meredosia power plant to the storage facility, FutureGen Alliance spokesman Lawrence Pacheco said. There are 10 companies presently involved — Alpha Natural Resources; Anglo American Services Ltd. Of London; Caterpillar Inc. of Illinois; CONSOL Energy of Pennsylvania; Louisville Gas & Electric/Kentucky Utilities; Exelon Corporation; Peabody Energy Corp. of Missouri; Rio Tinto Energy America Services of Wyoming; and Xstrata Coal Pty Ltd. Of Australia. “The reason for this is when the facility is operating, we will learn lessons that can be replicated by other facilities around the world,” Pacheco said. “This project will bring a lot of international attention to Illinois as other industrial plants around the world look at the success of FutureGen.”
The Obama administration has already made significant investments in advanced coal technologies a domestic and international priority. Just a month and a half ago, President Obama recommitted to working with China on “wind power, smart grids and cleaner coal.” And Obama’s Secretary of Energy Steven Chu outlined that over ten major advanced coal technology projects received over $4 billion in government investments, with $7 billion in matching investments from the private sector.
For more information about how carbon capture and storage technologies work in places like Texas and Illinois, click here.
Yesterday was the second and last day of the 2011 EnergyBiz Leadership Forum at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C. The day started off with a panel of utility CEOs, who all agreed that coal should remain an important part of our national energy mix.
Michael Morris of American Electric Power and Tom Fanning of Southern Company touted their investments into advanced coal technologies, while Lewis Hay of NextEra Energy (whose company is focused on renewable sources) emphasized that America needs to keep investing in clean coal research and development and that “it would be a mistake for Congress to take funding away from such efforts.”
Later that morning, I spoke with Kansas State Rep. Tom Sloan (R-45th District) about the latest news regarding the Sunflower Holcomb Plant as well as his goal of providing low-cost, reliable power to his constituents. Rep. Sloan points out that building the Holcomb coal-based power plant will allow for the transmission infrastructure for the state to support more wind power:
After our interview, we listened to Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) speak on energy policy, reminding the audience that “we have more coal in this country than Saudi Arabia has oil” and that continued investments in clean coal technologies were critical.
Cheap, affordable coal is what power the manufacturing base and maintains our families across the Midwest and in other regions of America. The low cost electricity that coal provides is a staple of life and essential to our standards of living in most of America. The companies we represent are proud to directly employ over 3,000 individuals in Ohio alone, with over 30,000 additional jobs, according to university studies, dependent on our industry. Coal provides our country with a strong international competitive advantage, as we have more coal than Saudi Arabia has oil and gas.
And just two days ago, Nunes’s colleague on the other side of the aisle, Assistant House Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said that he believes we can further develop advanced coal technologies:
Industry leaders as well as Republicans and Democrats from different states all agree: coal is vital to our national energy portfolio. Click here to see how much your state depends on coal for electricity generation.
The 2011 EnergyBiz Leadership Forum opened yesterday in Washington, D.C., with the goal of outlining the biggest challenges and the best opportunities for the energy and utility industry.
In the morning, I had a chance to speak with Kenneth Humphreys, CEO of the FutureGen Alliance, to talk about the latest updates on this advanced coal technology project in Illinois:
Immediately after our interview, FutureGen announced that Morgan County would host the carbon dioxide storage facility for their project:
FutureGen Alliance on Monday announced Morgan County as the winner to house a $1.3 billion underground carbon dioxide storage facility …That means more than 1,000 temporary construction and permanent full-time jobs to the city of Jacksonville and Morgan County, said Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard … The 30-year project will upgrade an existing Ameren Energy Resources oil-fired power plant in Meredosia into a near zero-emissions facility.
In the afternoon, the discussion shifted to the importance of affordable, reliable energy. I had the opportunity to speak with Joseph Welch, President and CEO of ITC Holdings, about the importance of transmission lines and keeping energy costs low.
Coal is one of our most affordable and reliable sources of energy, and advanced coal technology projects like FutureGen allow for the continued use of coal with the smallest environmental footprint possible.
If you want to follow the latest updates, we are live-tweeting today’s talks from the 2011 EnergyBiz Leadership Forum from @AmericasPower, using the #EBLF11 hashtag.
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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Bianca Prade Vice President
Bianca Prade is ACCCE's vice president of digital strategy, and leads new and traditional media strategies to increase the public’s awareness of the importance of coal-based electricity...
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The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) is committed to the idea that America can have the affordable, reliable electricity we need, with the clean environment we want. ACCCE’s Behind the Plug blog is the place for up-to-date news and analysis on clean coal technology developments and energy policy progress.
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