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.
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.
The coal industry provides much more than just affordable electricity, it provides jobs for hard working Americans across the country.
The industry alone provides over half a million American jobs, and one in every five rail jobs depend on coal. Families, communities and the nation’s economy depend on the reliability and affordability of coal’s steady, low costs during our country’s economic recovery.
Since coal is the prime source for our nation’s electricity, it’s time to embrace coal as the essential resource that keeps our economy functioning. Families and small businesses cannot afford to see their bills increase or livelihood vanish.
October is National Energy Awareness Month! The White House created National Energy Awareness Month two years ago to reinforce just how important energy is to the United States. To celebrate, Behind the Plug will feature a series about energy in America.Read part 1 and part 2.
Generating electricity is more than just flipping the “on” switch. The numerous energy sources in America all have different processes from turning raw natural resources into the power used in our homes and businesses.
There are many facets involved in producing electricity from coal; including how it’s mined, shipped, processed and used to turn turbines that ultimately produce reliable baseload power. Because of this extensive process used by nearly 600 coal-fueled power plants across the country, the coal industry is able to support 550,000 American jobs.
In a piece from Ohio’s Coshocton Tribune, readers can see just how coal goes from the mine to your power outlets. Check out the Tribune’s full article to read about the coal-power generating process in Ohio, where more than 80 percent of electricity is powered by coal:
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.
At the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, we often talk about the benefits of coal as it relates to affordable, reliable and abundant power. But coal’s benefits don’t stop at the power plant.
I traveled to Denver for a conference that gathered experts who specialize in using material left over from coal combustion. In the first video below, I talk with David Goss, a coal combustion byproducts consultant, about the types of materials created by coal after it generates electricity:
Coal combustion products don’t only contribute to the construction, agricultural and other industries; it can make current materials used in other industries better. In this video, James Roewer, executive director of the Utility Solid Waste Activities Group, explains to me how coal combustion products are recycled to conserve natural resources, energy resources, and land resources to create a better, more environmentally friendly type of concrete for construction projects:
What we’ve learned is that advanced coal technologies aren’t limited to coal’s combustion. Using coal to make electricity yields useful byproducts, creating markets for what otherwise would be disposed of as waste. Coal-based electricity generation provides additional benefits through conservation and recycling of byproducts for beneficial use.
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.
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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