Posts filed under What They’re Saying

What They’re Saying: Reliability and Energy Prices

This week, we’ve seen a number of developments making energy news, and a major theme is emerging that’s shaping the conversation about the future of energy policy in the U.S.

The selection of a new chair for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, statements by energy industry experts and elected officials and an administration official telling Congress that new EPA regulations could raise electricity prices by as much as 80 percent have people talking about the reliability of our grid and energy costs.

It was announced yesterday that Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has been selected to chair the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  Her selection is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate, and her elevation to this position is good news for energy producers and consumers alike.

Senator Landrieu announced she will pursue an agenda that will be “inclusive, bipartisan and focused on the job creation that America needs and wants,.” She has a proven record of fighting back against EPA overreach in order to protect affordable reliable fossil fuels and works across the aisle, seeking commonsense solutions to use our most abundant resources, like coal, more efficiently and cleanly.

A leader like Senator Landrieu will be instrumental in shaping policies that keep energy prices affordable for our families and our businesses.

Unfortunately, Senator Landrieu’s commonsense approach isn’t the only thing shaping the future of energy policy.  The EPA and the Obama Administration are still pursuing new regulations that could cause an enormous price increase for energy consumers across the country.

Dr. Julio Friedmann, the deputy assistant secretary for clean coal at the Department of Energy, told members of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations yesterday that EPA’s plan to require Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology for all new coal plants could raise wholesale electricity costs by as much as 80 percent.

Dr. Friedmann’s statements confirm what we’ve long known to be true: CCS is still a developing technology.  It’s not yet a commercially viable option, and requiring new coal plants to install CCS will lead to higher energy prices for businesses and families.

As new regulations make it more costly to operate coal-fueled power plants, the continued retirement of these energy sources is likely to increase the probability of rising electricity prices and supply disruptions.

With the record low temperatures we experienced this January, we’ve seen an increased demand for energy.  What we learned last month is that without the power generated by coal, electric reliability is called into question. Additionally the price of other energy sources, like natural gas, can spike when people need it the most.

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) highlighted the need to keep our energy mix diverse in response to this year’s extreme weather:

“Our reliance on installed, dispatchable power generation during extreme weather serves as a shining example of why diversity of baseload capacity is necessary to secure grid reliability. “

When we needed it the most, Americans turned to the power generated by coal to keep our lights on and our homes warm.  But with coal plants continuing to retire, what will happen when those units are no longer available?

In her comments on protecting the energy sources on which we rely, Sen. Murkowski expressed how tenuous our current policy direction is:

“What happens when that capacity is gone?  Maybe we won’t have cold periods like we’re seeing next year [and] we’ll be OK.  But what kind of policy is that?  A hope and a prayer, that’s not how we need to be operating here.”

We cannot afford this administration’s overreliance on a more narrow fuel source portfolio that excludes coal.

We can’t stand by as government agencies like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) deals with the issue of reliability by allowing PJM to offer power prices that exceed the market cap of $1,000 per megawatt hour.

Actions like those undertaken by FERC set a dangerous precedent that places the burden of increased electricity costs on ratepayers, rather than prompting a critical examination of the energy and environmental policies coming from the White House.

Politically motivated agendas should not be undermining America’s access to affordable, reliable energy at the expense of family budgets and businesses’ bottom lines.

 

 

 


The Coal Wire: CCS Technology In Action, Globally And Locally

TheCoalWire


June has been a great month
for carbon capture and sequestration technologies, as news reports tout
coal-fired power plants boasting technology that is reducing emissions by more
than 90 percent. In the past two weeks, we’ve talked about clean coal technology
developments from New Jersey to Wyoming, from Louisiana to Illinois, and even in India and Australia.

 

The coal-based electricity sector
is partnering with the federal government to bring new, cost-effective
technologies to the marketplace that is safely capturing and storing carbon
dioxide. In this edition of The Coal Wire, the fruits of those investments
domestically and internationally are highlighted:


Energy
Efficiency News
– IEA Points To Progress On CCS Proposals (6/17):

“Significant progress’ has been made towards the commercialisation of carbon
capture and storage (CCS), according to a new report being presented to G8
leaders at the June Summit in Canada.”  The report from the International
Energy Agency, “the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) and the Global
CCS Institute says that the goal set two years ago in Hokkaido, Japan of
launching 20 large-scale CCS demonstration projects by 2010 will require
industry and governments to work together and accelerate their efforts. … 
Currently, 80 large scale projects are at various stages of development around
the world, with five already operational and one is starting construction.”


E&E
News PM
–  DOE Researchers Test Coalbed Methane Sequestration At
Alabama Site (6/16):
“Researchers led by the Energy Department are testing the
potential to sequester carbon dioxide while enhancing natural gas production at
a site in Alabama.”  The Tuscaloosa County coalbed methane well will be
field tested to evaluate the “capability of mature coalbed methane reservoirs
to store CO2, DOE said.”  Earlier this week, researchers “began injections
of CO2 into an existing coalbed methane well.  Four new wells are being
used to monitor reservoir pressure, gas composition, water quality and the CO2 plume.” 
This “test will inject 240 tons of CO2 into the formation over a 45- to 60-day
period.”


Climatewire
– Total Has CCS Success (6/16):
“A French oil company is testing carbon capture and sequestration
(CCS) in the southwest region of the country with positive results.” 
Major oil producer, Total, “converted a part of a methane plant into a CO2
capture demonstration project,” in which the “captured gas is pumped about 17
miles away where it is injected underground into a depleted natural gas
reservoir.  The project was declared successful after five months — the
2,000 tons of carbon dioxide sequestered so far have stayed put.” 
Climatewire adds, “Over the next five years, Total plans to sequester 120,000
tons of carbon at the site and monitor its ability to contain the gas.”


Associated Press – Air Products Awarded $253 Million In
DOE Funding Toward CCS Project (6/17):
Air Products & Chemicals Inc. announced
“Wednesday that it was awarded $253 million in funding from the Energy
Department to complete a carbon dioxide capture project in Port Arthur,
Texas.”  The funding, “from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,
will be used for final engineering, design, construction and operation of the
project through September of 2015,” according to the company, and “represents
two-thirds of the roughly $384 million project.  Air Products said it will
design, construct and operate a state of the art system to capture carbon
dioxide from its two steam methane reforms within the Valero Refinery in Port
Arthur.  The recovered and purified carbon dioxide would then be used in
enhanced oil recovery.”


The Hindu – Scientists Planning To Store CO2 Deep
Underground (6/17):
“In
a novel way to fight global warming, scientists are trying how they could
remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store the gas deep under
the sea bed where it can cause no trouble. Researchers at the University of
Iceland are studying the possibility of sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2)
in basalt, a common extrusive volcanic rock that makes up most of the world’s
oceanic crust.”


The Coal Wire: April 1, 2010

Coal wire President Barack Obama, Seattle Times (McClatchy) (4/1): "’This is not a decision that I've made lightly,’ Obama said at Maryland's Andrews Air Force Base, near the capital. He also discussed administration policies to make automobiles more fuel efficient and to develop ‘clean coal’ and alternative-energy supplies.”

President Barack Obama, Inter Press Service (3/31): “‘But we have to do more. We need to make continued investments in clean coal technologies and advanced biofuels,’ said Obama at Andrew Airforce Base in Maryland.”

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), Culpeper Star-Exponent (4/1): “Webb further supported ‘a holistic approach’ to American energy needs going forward, saying all options should be on the table, including conservation, renewable energy, domestic drilling, clean coal and nuclear power.”

Green Inc., New York Times (3/31): “The
World Bank is calling on its members to back a contentious $3.75
billion loan request from Eskom, South Africa’s state run electricity
supplier, to finance initiatives that would shore-up the country’s
struggling power sector. [S]outh Africa’s finance minister, Pravin
Gordhan, has also argued for the loan in an article in The Washington
Post. 'To sustain the growth rates we need to create jobs,' Mr. Gordhan
wrote, 'we have no choice but to build new generating capacity —
relying on what, for now, remains our most abundant and affordable
energy source: coal.'"

Point Pleasant Register (3/30): “In anticipation of new carbon dioxide regulations and to address global climate change issues, AEP is now developing strategies and technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The current CCS validation project captures carbon dioxide from the flue gas and pumps it 1.5 miles underground in deep geological formations—trapped by layers of caprock—for permanent storage. [A]ccording to AEP representatives, the next step is to take the CCS technology to the commercial scale. [T]o help do this as well as explain the project to the public, AEP Mountaineer has had several groups tour the facility, including organizations from as far away as Japan.”

India Business Standard (4/2): “In a meeting with a US delegation, led by American Senator Christopher Bond here, Jaiswal said use of clean coal technologies was essential in view of the growing demand for coal in India due to addition in power-generation capacity. ‘Issues relating to energy security were discussed in the meeting… it was further mentioned that Coal India Ltd had issued a global expression of interest for strategic partnerships through formation of joint ventures for opening greenfield projects and equity infusion with relatively long-term offtake agreements,’ an official statement said.”


The Coal Wire: March 29, 2010

The Coal WireRep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), The News and Sentinel (3/29): "What's to stop the EPA from going after more permits that have already been issued and are fully operational? This action disregards the expertise of both the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) and puts all of West Virginia miners at risk of losing their jobs."

The Financial Times (3/29): "Even with all the investments in solar, wind and biomass, China will still get nearly two-thirds of its energy from coal in two decades time. As a result, for many observers, it is cleaner coal technologies – rather than renewables – that could provide the biggest benefits in terms of limiting the growth in emissions."


The Coal Wire: March 25, 2010

The Coal WireCalera Corp. CEO Brent Constantz, E&E News (3/23): “We believe that the CO2 used in our process for producing materials could exceed the current generation rate of CO2 from all global industrial and utility sources.”

New Energy Focus (3/24): "According to figures in the report [by the Scottish government], around 60,000 green jobs could be created by 2020 in low carbon industries, including an additional 26,000 jobs in renewables, 26,000 jobs in emerging low carbon technologies and a further 8,000 jobs in environmental management. It also noted that low carbon goods and services would be worth an estimated £12 billion by 2015."


Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), The State Journal (3/25):
“Coal has given the American people the highest standard of living in the world, and will continue to be a cornerstone of our energy policy…We cannot wait much longer to put the research and incentives out there for CCS technologies to thrive and clean coal’s future to be secure."


The Coal Wire: March 22, 2010

The Coal Wire

Bloomberg (3/17): "CCS technology Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government said carbon-capture and storage projects may add 6.5 billion pounds ($10 billion) a year to the U.K. economy and create 100,000 jobs by 2030.”

The Globe and Mail (3/17): "Canada has more energy in its 'proven, recoverable' reserves of coal than it has in all of its oil, natural gas and oil sands combined: 10 billion tonnes. The world has 100 times more: one trillion tonnes. These reserves hold the energy equivalent of more than four trillion barrels of oil. They are scattered in 70 countries, mostly in relatively easy-to-mine locations and mostly in democratic countries."


The Globe and Mail
(3/17): "Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington announced last month that they have developed a clean way to turn the cheapest kind of coal – lignite, common in Texas – into synthetic crude. 'We go from that [lignite coal] to this really nice liquid,' Brian Dennis, a member of the research team, said in describing the synthetic crude that can be refined into gasoline."

E&E News (3/18): The work done by the state to develop areas like [carbon] storage facilities is being “aided by US Department of Energy grants and access to a new supercomputer being built in Cheyenne. Wyoming delegations have made two visits to China, which is helping them explore carbon capture technology and the use of so-called ‘mine mouth’ coal-fired plants.”

Desoto Times Tribune (3/19): "Gulf-coast based Mississippi Power Company that serves 23 counties has asked the state Public Service Commission for a construction permit to locate the facility in Kemper County and strip-mine 45 square miles of land to mine the lignite [coal]."

BoilerStation.com (3/21): "Purdue University could soon make considerable reductions in air pollution if a state environmental agency approves changes to the campus power plant…If the permit is approved, a Purdue official said, it would lead to a 93 percent drop in soot emissions and 70 percent reduction in mercury emissions."

Sandra Osborn Scottish MP, Cumnock Chronicle (3/22): "After years of lacking a coherent policy on coal, indigenous UK/Scottish coal is now seen by the Government as being essential for the security of energy supply…Europe and the UK have woken up to the risks of reliance on imported energy, particularly from Russia. The UK is now a net importer of gas (from Russia) and over 50% of the coal imports have been coming from Russia. Indigenous coal reserves are now receiving the political focus that they deserve."


The Coal Wire: March 18, 2010

The Coal Wire

Climatewire, E&E News (3/16): "What started out as an experiment, according to the [Anadarko Petroleum Corp.], is now the biggest carbon storage project in North America. Its results have rocked Wyoming. State officials, who estimate Wyoming supplies about 10 percent of the nation's fossil fuels — including a third of its coal — had been worrying about the potential impact of federal greenhouse gas regulations. Anadarko had demonstrated how it could produce what it calls 'green oil' by burying a large amount of man-made greenhouse gas."

Bloomberg (3/16): "Former President Bill Clinton told lawmakers the U.S. may fall behind China in the race to dominate the global market for clean energy unless Congress passes climate-change legislation, two senators said."

Reuters UK (3/17): "Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE.L) has been awarded 6.3 million pounds ($9.45 million) in funding for a clean coal project in Yorkshire, the government said on Wednesday. SSE's pilot project to capture climate-warming carbon from a small part of its Ferrybridge coal-fired power plant will form part of a new carbon capture and storage (CCS) economic area covering Yorkshire and Humber, it said."

Polish Market Online (3/17): "In his address at the Silesia Power Meeting, [Poland's Chief National Geologist] Henryk Jezierski emphasised the essential role the Ministry of the Environment plays in implementing in Poland the state-of-the-art technology of safe storage of carbon dioxide in geological formations, including by means of supporting demonstration projects on drilling a pilot well to test CO2 pressure pumping into deep saline aquifers…"

Odessa American News (3/17): "US Department of Energy has moved the ‘clean coal’ plant one step further along" in announcing last week that it had “awarded a cooperative agreement to Summit Texas Clean Energy LLC to design, build and demonstrate a coal-gasification plant.”

The Globe and Mail (3/17): "Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) announced last month that they have developed a clean way to turn the cheapest kind of coal – lignite, common in Texas – into synthetic crude. 'We go from that [lignite coal] to this really nice liquid,' Brian Dennis, a member of the research team, said in describing the synthetic crude that can be refined into gasoline."


The Coal Wire: March 15, 2010

The Coal Wire

David Peugh, Arch Coal VP of business development, Wall Street Journal(3/11): “Trailblazer will harness the most advanced coal-based technologies to supply secure, low-carbon production of electricity to the rapidly growing Texas marketplace … Furthermore, Trailblazer’s success could set the stage for a new generation of power plants fueled with America’s most abundant, reliable and cost-competitive fuel.”

Mike Morris, CEO of American Electric Power Co., Bloomberg News (3/11): “A delay in US climate legislation will give utilities time to develop systems to burn coal with fewer carbon-dioxide emissions. … You’re really looking at a regime that probably starts in 2020, and by 2020 we will have demonstrated the deployability of carbon capture and storage, probably on a very wide basis.”

The Star Phoenix- CanWest (3/11): “Premier Brad Wall told reporters the federal government has already made financial commitments to some of the major projects, including $250 million in trust for the Boundary Dam clean coal project.