Who is ACCCE?

AmericasPower.org is sponsored by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), which is a partnership of the industries involved in producing electricity from coal. Coal, an abundant and affordable American energy resource, plays a critical role in meeting our country’s growing need for affordable and reliable electricity. America can fulfill the promise of a clean energy future while relying upon our abundant reserves of coal to meet growing energy needs. In fact, forecasts show that it is not a question of “if” we’ll use coal (we will), but rather “how” coal will be used. We answer “how” with one simple word. Cleanly. We support investments in technology that will ensure we continue to improve coal’s environmental performance, while at the same time keeping electricity affordable for American families and businesses.

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What is clean coal technology?

Congress first coined the term clean coal technology in the mid-1980s – long before the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) was formed. Back then, Congress defined the phrase in reference to technologies that reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. Today, clean coal technology means much more. Broadly speaking, clean coal technology refers to technologies that improve the environmental performance of coal-based electricity plants. These technologies include equipment that increases the operational efficiency of power plants, as well as emission-reducing technologies. Early work to promote clean coal technologies focused on efforts to reduce traditional pollutant emissions like SO2, NOand particulate matter. Clean coal technology will continue to evolve as we develop and deploy new technologies to respond to environmental challenges. The coal-based electricity sector is working hard to bring the next generation of advanced clean coal technologies to the marketplace. In fact, the coal industry is expected to have invested more than $126 billion by 2018 to use coal more cleanly and efficiently than ever before.

Just how clean is “clean coal”?

Because of the industry’s continued investments in clean coal technology, the environmental performance of coal-based generation has been significantly improved. Fifteen next-generation technologies are being used by America’s existing coal power fleet, with 90 percent of plants having installed advanced emission controls by the end of 2015. New coal plants built today also use this state-of-the-art technology, offering improved environmental performance in terms of both efficiency and emissions reductions.

Why should I support clean coal?

Here are the facts:

  • We rely on coal today, which provides nearly 35 percent of America’s electricity.
  • We’re going to need to rely on coal for the foreseeable future, both in the U.S. and around the world.
  • Coal-based electricity is affordable and reliable as compared to other energy alternatives, which are expensive and intermittent.
  • To date, the use of technology has made it possible to produce more electricity from coal to meet our country’s growing energy demand while significantly improving its environmental performance.

How much coal do we have?

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, America has the largest recoverable coal reserves in the world. In fact, we have more energy in the form of coal than the entire Middle East has oil. These abundant coal deposits are found in 25 states and, at our current rate of consumption, can meet domestic energy demand for roughly 280 years.

How does coal help our economy?

The coal industry helps support more than 700,000 direct and indirect jobs in America. Whether it’s mining coal in one of our nation’s 25 coal-producing states, hauling coal across America’s railways or generating affordable, reliable electricity at one of more than 500 coal power plants, countless families’ livelihoods rely on this industry. Furthermore, the 22 states that generate more than 70 percent of their power from coal pay electricity rates 13 percent lower than the national average. In contrast, states that generate less than nine percent of their power from coal pay electricity rates 24 percent higher than the national average.

Ultimately, coal helps provide a steady and reliable paycheck to hundreds of thousands of Americans, while also keeping electricity rates affordable and predictable for millions.

What is coal’s advantage over other energy options?

All energy resources do not produce electricity in the same way. Key differences exist in the type of consumer electricity demand and how electricity providers dispatch electricity to their customers, depending on those changes in demand. Electricity is produced as baseload power and as peaking power. Baseload power is the energy necessary to keep the electricity grid energized and meeting a constant demand. Peaking power is energy that comes on and off throughout the day, when electricity usage and energy demand go up and down. Peaking power uses “just in time” intermittent fuel sources, which are typically more expensive than coal, subject to price volatility and raise concerns over infrastructure, transport and storage. Unlike these fuel sources, coal is consistently affordable and can be stockpiled on site to provide the baseload power needed to keep plants running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Do we have to choose between affordable electricity and the environment?

The use of clean coal technologies has proven that we don’t have to choose between affordable, reliable electricity and a cleaner environment. Coal plants built today using state-of-the-art technology offer improved environmental performance both in terms of efficiency and emissions reductions. Going forward, a new generation of advanced clean coal technologies will allow us to continue to protect the environment and still enjoy access to affordable, reliable electricity from coal. This continued environmental progress must include technologies to capture and safely store CO2. Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency is forgoing American leadership on CCS and an estimated $1 trillion in economic benefits.

Why does ACCCE, and why should I, oppose EPA’s carbon regulations?

Under the guise of climate action, the EPA’s carbon regulations for new and existing power plants set unrealistic standards for our nation’s power fleet, ultimately forcing a transition to politically favored, and more expensive, fuel sources. In reality, these regulations threaten Americans’ access to affordable, reliable electricity by shuttering more than 61,000 MW of generating capacity by the end of 2015. Placing this type of strain on our nation’s electric grids will have serious costs, with recent analysis by NERA Economic Consulting estimating a total price tag of up to $292 billion from 2022-2033. All of these costs will be for naught, as EPA itself has admitted these regulations will have little to no environmental impact.

States, industry and other stakeholders are challenging EPA’s overreach in federal courts with the backing of our Constitution, sound science, technological improvements and the common sense notion of avoiding unnecessary costs that reap negligible benefits.

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