A Day with Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 1:37 pm, March 27, 2014

Last week, I had the fun privilege of spending the day with our partner and NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. As a small business owner, Dale Jr. appreciates the importance of affordable energy. His businesses, JR Motorsports and Whisky River rely on affordable coal-based electricity to prep his cars and serve his customers. Without reliable, low-cost power from coal, which comprises more than half of North Carolina’s energy portfolio, the future of businesses like Dale Jr.’s could be jeopardized.

During our visit, Dale Jr. sat down with Dave Green, a mine rescue captain with Alpha Natural Resources to learn more about the cutting-edge safety technologies being used by companies like Alpha, which have taken impressive strides to improve safety in the coal production process. It was a great conversation and we look forward to sharing it with you in June.

Dale Jr. also conducted a number of radio interviews, including:

But aside from “talking shop,” we were able to have some fun too. On set, Dale Jr. took photos with #7 driver Regan Smith’s America’s Power car, in his own fire suit and even with Killer, his adorable bull dog:

All in all, it was a great day and we look forward to continuing a fantastic partnership with Dale Jr. and JR Motorsports – and hopefully seeing Dale win the Sprint Cup this year!

Stay tuned in the coming months for more from our day with Dale Jr.


New Study Reveals Billions in Costs, Lost Jobs Under NRDC’s Carbon Regulation Proposal

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 12:03 pm, March 25, 2014

This week, we released a detailed economic analysis of the Natural Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC) carbon regulation proposal, first put forth by NRDC in December 2012 and updated last week.

The newest version of NRDC’s proposal ludicrously asserts that its plan to reduce CO2 emissions from existing power plants would carry no costs at all and would actually spur numerous benefits. Worse yet, the NRDC proposal recommends a system-based approach (also known as “outside-the-fence”) that is essentially a cap-and-trade program. Our analysis, performed by leading research firm the National Economic Research Associates (NERA), clearly demonstrates that NRDC left out some critical facts including the $13 to $17 billion-per-year price tag for consumers and the millions of jobs America stands to lose under its proposed policy.

Our economic analysis further projects the NRDC proposal would cost consumers a total of $116 to $151 billion during the period of 2018-2033. And, retail electricity prices would increase by double digit percentages in as many as 29 states.

Over this same time period, net job losses could total as many as 2.85 million. NRDC projects net job gains in the thousands, but only in the years 2016 and 2020.

NRDC also asserts that gas-fired generation would increase by 2 percent. Our economic analysis found that natural gas-fired generation would increase by 8-16 percent to keep up with demand, while rates would simultaneously increase by as much as 16 percent.

The results of our economic analysis reveal that the NRDC proposal is, in fact, all pain with very little gain. And the proposal’s failure to mention the many potential consequences, like cost increases and job losses, suggests that the group is ignoring reality in order to drum up support for its impractical plan. A more reasonable approach to greenhouse gas regulations would offer more flexibility and would focus on measures that can be taken at power plants to reduce their impact, while maintaining dependable, low-cost, coal-based electricity.

Here at America’s Power, we support an “inside-the-fence,” source-based approach that bases emissions reductions on measures taken at existing power plants. This would include many improvements power plants can make to their facilities that improve efficiency, remove emissions and more. Being able to implement measures at individual generating units is a common sense approach to working with utilities and achieving significant emissions reductions and environmental improvements. Let’s work together to craft a solution that works for our consumers and for America’s energy future.

Join us in asking the EPA to set common sense policies and to protect American jobs today.


Real People, Real Stories

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 12:41 pm, March 20, 2014

Communities across America – from New Hampshire to Arizona, Alaska to Florida – all depend on low-cost coal for electricity. Energy is not a regional issue, nor is it a partisan issue; it is everyone’s issue. American families and businesses alike depend on affordable electricity to power their daily lives.

Throughout the years, America’s Power has had the chance to meet real Americans in real communities across the country who have shared their stories with us. Sitting down at their kitchen tables, walking through their communities and visiting their businesses, we’ve witnessed firsthand how policy made in Washington, D.C. impacts these men and women. We’ve spoken with a wide array of stakeholders, including parents, small business owners, manufacturers, corporate leaders, community leaders, and more.

These are real people telling their personal stories. They aren’t glamorous or staged; they are honest and candid. As the fight to protect affordable energy from coal against onerous regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues, it seems President Obama, EPA Administrator McCarthy and others in the administration have no interest in hearing the perspectives of those they represent—and those who will bear the greatest burden of their policymaking.

Since Washington won’t visit these communities, we’re sharing their important stories in our “Real People, Real Stories” video series.

 

 

Stand with these Americans by voicing your opposition to EPA policies that jeopardize affordable, dependable electricity from coal.


Rising Energy Costs are Straining Families’ Budgets

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 2:41 pm, March 18, 2014

A recent report concluded what many American families already understand all too well – energy costs in the U.S. are on the rise. Since 2011, real energy costs for middle- and low-income families have increased by an astounding 27 percent. These costs are rising quickly, while real incomes have declined.

We rolled out a new hub on our website last week that features interesting facts that puts rising energy costs into terms to which we can all relate.

For example, the average American family will spend $479.33 per month on energy costs in 2014. That’s enough to buy 61 rotisserie chickens or 121 gallons of milk. Aside from necessities like food and housing, this year’s average energy cost total is enough to cover the cost of a kitchen remodel, or tablets for an entire elementary school class.

These figures highlight how energy is competing with other basic needs like housing, food and healthcare within families’ budgets. Sadly, as energy costs are projected to increase, families will see little relief in the near future.

The problem of high energy costs will only be exacerbated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as it sets overreaching carbon emissions regulations for power plants. EPA’s New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for coal-fueled power plants promises to increase energy costs by placing a de facto ban on the construction of any new coal plants. By eliminating an affordable resource that offers reliable, baseload power to the electricity grid and that supports thousands of jobs across the country, EPA is setting our communities up for higher energy prices with no relief in sight.

By limiting our nation’s energy costs through the use of a diverse, affordable energy mix, we can lighten the burden on our hard-working families.

Check out the new site to learn more and see how you can take action to protect affordable power derived from coal.

 


American Coal Council’s Spring Forum Hosts Important Discussion

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 10:56 am, March 14, 2014

The American Coal Council hosted its Spring Coal Forum in Naples, Florida, this week where speakers underscored the importance of coal-fueled electricity to America and why the U.S. must invest in clean coal technology.

Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Corp., told the large crowd in Naples that there would be “no environmental benefit” in the “deliberate destruction” of the U.S. coal industry.

Murray went on to applaud Roger Bezdek for his important study on the social cost of carbon. Bezdek, another presenter at the Spring Coal Forum, asserted that “coal is the fuel of the past, present and future.” Bezdek also highlighted the fact that “electricity is essential for human well-being” and that coal effectively meets this need.

Murray told the crowd that 89 percent of American Electric Power’s (AEP) coal assets that are already slated for closure, due to EPA regulations, were put online this winter to supply electricity and heat during the frigid polar vortex. The lessons learned from this winter make it abundantly clear that now is the wrong time to take such a vital resource as coal out of commission. This is especially true when you consider that coal-fueled power is more advanced than ever as the industry has reduced emissions by 90 percent since 1970 and will have invested $145 billion in emissions controls by 2016.

Instead of making progress on reducing emissions from coal-fueled plants, the EPA is effectively halting carbon capture and storage (CCS) from further development by requiring the commercial-scale use of this technology before it is ready. That’s why we were encouraged to learn that the House Committee on Energy and Commerce is taking action by launching an investigation into the questionable decision-making process by EPA that led to this untenable rule.

As I stated yesterday, for too long, the EPA has chosen to ignore the counsel of leading scientists and failed to come clean with American consumers about the true costs and consequences of its rulemaking. Instead of a reasonable path forward, EPA has proposed a rule that is unworkable and carries a high price tag for all Americans.

 

Take action by filing a comment with the EPA and ensuring affordable, reliable coal-based electricity.


Confirming What We Already Know

Posted by Elizabeth Jennings at 12:38 pm, March 13, 2014

If you read the Wall Street Journal yesterday, you probably noticed a full-page ad featuring EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy telling Americans to “suck it up” over skyrocketing electricity bills. While we agree, skyrocketing bills are coming your way, that ad didn’t come from us. It came from a group called Environmental Policy Alliance who launched a new site epafacts.com yesterday to call attention to little issues at EPA like transparency and secret science, as well as what the true cost Americans will bear as a result of its overreaching regulations.

The Environmental Policy Alliance is not alone in wanting to know more about what goes on behind the closed doors at EPA. In fact, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has weighed-in on the matter and is opening a full investigation on the EPA decision-making process relating to the agency’s consideration of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies as it relates to creating greenhouse gas emission standards for new power plants. The letter to Administrator McCarthy specifically mentions how section 111 of the Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to impose emission standards using carbon capture technologies that have been “adequately demonstrated” which does not legally include those that are federally funded. A plant that we are quite familiar with, the Kemper County facility in Mississippi, is federally funded, has the CCS technology and is a great starting point but is not ready to be duplicated for many reasons.

The House Energy investigation as well as the site epafacts.com confirms what we already know: EPA’s regulations are far too stringent and will be destructive to our way of life. By continuing on their rampage of taking coal out of the mix, energy costs for families will continue to rise, forcing some to make the unbearable choice to keep the lights on or put food on the table. In addition, coal-fired plants around the country are facing retirements that will result in jobs lost and an unreliable grid that can’t deliver power when it’s needed most.   Thankfully, our legislators are starting to listen, and hopefully will put a stop to EPA’s overzealous regulations which ultimately will inflict much pain without any real gain. If you haven’t already, visit eparegscostjobs.com and send a comment to McCarthy’s EPA and stand up for affordable, reliable power and American jobs.


ACCCE Talks Energy Policy with Senator Heidi Heitkamp

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 3:34 pm, March 11, 2014

Following the Coal Technology Symposium on Capitol Hill last week, we sat down with Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) to talk about North Dakota’s and America’s energy future.

Senator Heitkamp knows better than most the need for a diverse fuel portfolio in America’s energy sector. After years of experience working within the energy industry, she now reaches across party lines on Capitol Hill to pursue common sense energy policies. Senator Heitkamp understands that coal-fueled electricity provides reliable, affordable power and can support America’s energy demands while reducing our carbon footprint.

“We know we can deploy clean coal,” Senator Heitkamp told us. “People ask me all the time, is there such a thing? And I say, absolutely.”

The United States is currently the global leader in clean coal technology innovation.  The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for coal-fueled power plants, however, put America’s innovation leadership at serious risk. As currently devised, NSPS will all but ensure no new coal plant is ever built in America resulting in a halt in innovation in clean coal technologies. Other countries like China and India will be all too eager to step in and continue to advance these technologies which will bring economic benefits in the trillions of dollars to the leader of the innovation race.

Senator Heitkamp believes that EPA and energy policy makers should work with America’s coal industry to develop less stringent regulations that allow room for extensive research and development of clean coal technologies right here at home.

“When you shut down the opportunity for coal long-term, or you send the wrong signals, you’re going to shut down the investment,” Senator Heitkamp added.

In 2012, North Dakota depended on coal-fueled power to generate 78 percent of the state’s electricity. Local businesses and families alike rely on the affordable power from coal to power their communities reliably, even during North Dakota’s harsh winters. And, this winter in particular, coal-fueled power plants were critical in meeting electricity demands across the country during the coldest days.

If EPA continues to pursue regulations that will shut down coal-fueled plants or place a de facto ban on future construction, local communities will be hit the hardest. Thankfully, Senator Heitkamp is standing up for North Dakota communities that depend on coal-fired power for electricity, job growth, and the numerous benefits coal offers local economies.

 

Take action today and join the fight to protect low-cost energy from coal and support the development of clean coal technology.


Coal Has Kept Kentucky Warm This Winter

Posted by Elizabeth Jennings at 11:42 am, March 07, 2014

Our own CEO and president, Mike Duncan, is a proud, lifelong Kentuckian. As the grandson of a coal miner, Mike’s ties to coal are deep. But as an active community member and business owner in his hometown of Inez, KY, Mike has also seen firsthand how Kentucky’s economy has been impacted by regulations that threaten the future of coal generation.

Mike recently wrote about how rising energy costs are devastating Kentucky’s families in a piece for the Richmond Register.

While Mike focuses on his own home state of Kentucky, communities across the country are experiencing a similar plight—facing daunting energy costs and the threat of lost jobs and economic activity.

Check out the op-ed here.