Posts filed under Clean Coal

Kelley Earnhardt Miller on Energy Awareness Month

NASCAR fans know racing takes a lot of energy. I’m always amazed to see how much goes into preparing for a race. The JR Motorsports crew is constantly working—from powering the tools in the pit to tuning up the cars. Countless activities that keep our operation running require reliable, low-cost electricity.

October is Energy Awareness Month, and joining forces with America’s Power gave me greater awareness of exactly how energy works in America. One of the most important takeaways has been learning about how electricity is generated and consumed in the U.S., which is home to abundant and low-cost fuel sources like coal.

By harnessing these resources, and investing in new technologies to produce electricity in a cleaner manner, we’re fortunate to have a predictable and low-cost power supply. Considering that most Americans can be confident the lights will turn on and the heat will flow when we flip a switch, it’s easy to take this comfort for granted. In other parts of the world, on-demand electricity is a luxury that many do not have.

This October, encourage your family and community to learn more about how power is generated in your state. Take action to protect the abundant, low-cost and reliable energy we enjoy today so we can power our progress well into the future.

Kelley Earnhardt Miller on Clean Coal Technology

Throughout my partnership with America’s Power, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about the important role coal plays in producing affordable, reliable electricity. One of the most fascinating topics I’ve encountered along the way is clean coal technology, which refers to a number of advanced tools and controls that help coal-fired power plants generate electricity more cleanly and efficiently than ever before.

Growing up around racing, I’ve witnessed how the industry regularly introduces new safety features and modern technologies, while still keeping the sport an enjoyable experience for fans. The same is true in energy, and the coal industry is leading the way when it comes to innovation. At least 15 next-generation technologies are being used today by America’s coal fleet, and by 2017, the coal industry will have invested $142 billion to reduce emissions.

Like Dale Jr. and Regan, I’m encouraged to know our country is at the forefront of these important clean energy advancements, and that we’re working to ensure America is able to use our most abundant energy resource for generations to come.

Learn more about clean coal technology and check out additional footage from Dale Jr.’s and Regan’s trips to two cutting-edge power plants using clean coal technologies.

Leaders Convene to Discuss Future of Energy at ECO:nomics

This week, the Wall Street Journal hosted its ECO:nomics business forum in sunny Santa Barbara, California. Several CEOs and business leaders gathered together to discuss America’s energy and environmental future. How do we meet our ever-growing electricity needs, while also reducing emissions? Many leaders agreed: coal is here to stay, and we must utilize clean coal technology.

Nick Akins, CEO of American Electric Power, reiterated the importance of coal-fueled power to support our electrical grid. Utilities like AEP depend on coal, a reality that was evident during the recent ‘polar vortexes’ and throughout the frigid winter. Around 90% of AEP’s coal plants currently slated for closure was brought online to help meet demand and power through the coldest days. As Akins told ECO:nomics attendees, we need coal backing up our electricity grid because “no one likes the lights to go out.”

Akins was followed by Peabody Energy Corp. CEO Gregory Boyce. Boyce and Akins carried a similar message: coal is critical and will be an integral part of our energy mix for years to come. It is the largest source of electricity generation in the U.S. and the fastest-growing source around the world. Boyce noted that Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK are all increasing their imports of coal, and Asia has been steadily increasing its use of coal, as well.

Coal-fueled power is electrifying communities across the globe and can bring power to all those who need it most, Boyce explained. Given Boyce’s commentary at the conference, it’s not surprising that Peabody is leading a global effort to help promote coal’s role in eradicating poverty through its newly launched Advanced Energy for Life campaign.

Both Boyce and Akins stressed the importance of further developing clean coal technology. In the words of Nick Akins, “progress is being made but not enough.” Boyce pointed out that building new clean coal plants is an opportunity to decarbonize. They both agreed that coal must be a major part of our future energy portfolio to ensure reliability, while also limiting emissions with advanced technology. But, if EPA continues with its crusade against coal-based electricity, the future of clean coal technology will be effectively quashed.

Instead we should support advanced technologies and maintain low-cost, reliable power for our communities through the use of America’s most abundant source of energy – coal.

The Kemper Energy Facility – Groundbreaking Technology for Cleaner Energy

Over the past decade, clean coal technology has come a long way. When we say “clean coal technology,” we’re referring to the slate of more than 15 advanced tools aimed at reducing emissions, including scrubbers, integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) and carbon capture and storage (CCS). Together, these technologies have reduced overall emissions by more than 90%.

America is leading the way in developing these innovative technologies at institutions across the country, including the Ohio State Clean Coal Research Laboratory and the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research.

Southern Company’s Kemper County Energy Facility in Mississippi has been one of the most talked about clean energy projects not only here in the United States, but across the globe. Creative and forward-thinking engineering has allowed the plant to change the way we view coal-fired power. Southern Company is nearly finished constructing the 582-megawatt transport integrated gasification (TRIG) plant that will deploy technology to capture 65 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions from the plant. The groundbreaking technology will burn lignite coal that is mined on-site, and subsequently capture the carbon byproduct and store it underground. While the plant is an incredible example of American innovation, it has also taught us a few things about the challenges involved in building an advanced carbon capture facility.

For one, it has shown us that CCS is not commercially viable yet. The Kemper Plant has experienced significant cost overruns and delays in construction.

Second, it has shown us that only a specific set of circumstances allowed Kemper to be built. The plant is located in an area that is perfectly suited for the coal mine and power plant’s construction, and thus is not replicable just anywhere.

And third, the Kemper plant has demonstrated how far we have come in the development of clean coal technology, but also how far we have left to go. Southern Company’s own environmental director, Danny Herrin, told the EPA this week that “experiences gained from the Kemper County energy facility, as well as from many more fully integrated applications [of CCS] on full-scale power plants, are needed before the technology can be considered adequately demonstrated.”

By setting ourselves on the right path, we can support the continued development of CCS, along with dozens of other technologies designed to reduce emissions from power plants. To do so, we must pursue energy policy to ensure that the Kemper facility is the first, but not the last, power plant of its kind in the U.S.

The Year Ahead

None of us have the benefit of a crystal, ball but one thing is certain as we look ahead at 2014 – coal will continue to be a fundamental part of our energy future, ensuring America has the affordable, reliable, base-load energy needed to power our everyday lives and businesses.

In 2014, we must focus on how to move reasonable policies forward that continue to make America’s coal-based industries leaders in reducing emissions and innovating new ways to utilize one of our greatest energy resources. Putting political platitudes and legacy goals ahead of smart policies,will only threaten our economy, risk hundreds of thousands of jobs, and halt innovation.

Consider that through 2013, the coal-fueled electricity industry had invested $118 billion in a variety of clean coal technologies, reducing emissions by nearly 90% since 1970. And, between 2012 and 2016, the industry will invest another $35 billion on the U.S. coal fleet’s emissions controls.

These investments mean more than just cleaner coal-fueled power.  They represent an effort by the industry to develop new technologies like Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), which could mean an estimated $1 trillion in economic benefits to the U.S. over the next two decades.

But these benefits are in jeopardy.  Overreaching and unattainable regulations proposed by the EPA threaten to send innovative technologies like CCS, which are still in their infancy,  to countries like China which will reap the rewards of second and third generation development.

The conversation about the future of our energy policy has to focus on how we move forward, not backward.

We must have an energy policy that helps create jobs and new economic opportunities while ensuring that we have affordable and reliable power for our families and businesses.

We must develop sensible solutions that balance our need to reduce the environmental impact of energy generation with our need to protect American energy workers, consumers and manufacturers.  In short, we need an all-of-the-above energy policy.

This Wednesday, America’s Power will be presenting U.S. Energy Policy: The Road Ahead, hosted by Real Clear Politics.

Register here to be part of the discussion, and help us start a conversation that moves our energy policy forward and protects the people and communities that keep our lights on and our homes warm.

If you can’t make it to the event in person, be a part of the discussion on Twitter using #RCPEnergy.


Fact: Nearly 90 Percent Cleaner

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.

Dale Jr. Gets Clean Coal

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.

Clean Coal Means Jobs for America

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.

Stand with clean coal by following us on Facebook or Twitter.