Posts filed under Clean Coal

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.


From the Mine to Your Power Outlet

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:

From mine to electricity: a closer look at coal

The Coal Wire: American Progress in Advanced Coal Technologies

As we pointed out two weeks ago, America has been leading the way when it comes to fully developing advanced coal technology projects because of investments from the private and public sector. The Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute reported that the United States “continues to lead the way with 39 of the total 77 large-scale projects” within CCS technologies.

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.