Monthly Archives: June 2017

Coal Related News from Around the Nation

Guest Commentary: Clean Coal Part of Broad Fuel Portfolio

Via The News-Gazette:

Our demand for electricity will continue to increase, notwithstanding improved energy efficiency. This is because we continue to find more and more uses for electricity, including our constantly increasing use of computers and other electronics and the greater number of electric vehicles on the road.

A responsible policy for generating this electricity must include diverse fuel sources. Currently, we are experiencing a big push for wind and solar, and although welcome from an environmental point of view, these are intermittent and can be relied on only to supplement more traditional and dependable sources of electricity.

We are currently heavily dependent on natural gas as a fuel, primarily because of its low price but also because it emits half the carbon when burned as does coal. As we see periodically, though, low prices are often temporary, which is why our fuel sources need to be diversified.

How does coal fit into this plan? New technology has basically eliminated particulate emissions, including harmful sulfur and mercury, from new coal plants, and since these plants are more efficient, less coal is needed for a given amount of energy. To complement this, we need to develop other new technologies to capture the carbon-dioxide emissions when coal is burned. In this way, we can have more diversified fuel sources, and, because of our huge domestic coal reserves, we will be more energy self-sufficient.

There is reason to be optimistic that new technology can result in clean coal. Consider what fracking and horizontal drilling have done for the oil and gas industry. Given the track record in the U.S. of researching and developing new technologies, if we put some resources into clean coal research, we should anticipate a substantial payoff.

It is difficult for any one coal company to undertake the necessary research because they will be unable to capture most of the benefits of this research as it will spill over into the rest of the industry. Consequently, in situations like this, government research is necessary, perhaps in partnership with the industry. This should be a priority both for the government and for the industry.

There may well be additional benefits from this research. If the carbon dioxide can be captured, there may be uses for it for, among other things, petrochemicals and plastics, as well as uses we cannot anticipate today. More research is needed here, too. This would turn a negative into something valuable and would help to offset the cost of carbon capture technology. Such new technology could also benefit other fossil fuels, including natural gas and oil, when they are burned to generate electricity.

We have relied heavily on coal to generate electricity in the past, and by supporting more research, we can rely on clean coal in the future. This protects us with diverse fuel sources to generate electricity, not overly relying on one fuel source, and it helps us gain energy independence and security by relying more on our huge domestic reserves of coal.

Stanford L. Levin is professor emeritus of economics at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He has previously served on the Illinois Commerce Commission and consults in the U.S. and abroad on energy issues.

See the article here.

Trump Vows ‘Energy Dominance’

Via The Wheeling News-Register:

The Trump administration said Thursday it is taking steps to expand oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans as President Donald Trump continues to push for U.S. “energy dominance” in the global market.

The Interior Department is rewriting a five-year drilling plan established by the Obama administration, with an eye toward opening areas in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans that now are off-limits to drilling.

It’s one of six initiatives that the president unveiled Thursday in hopes of generating more energy exports and jobs.

“The golden era of American energy is now underway,” Trump said in a Thursday speech at the Energy Department.

“And I’ll go a step further: The golden era of America is now underway, believe me. And you’re all going to be a part of it in creating this exciting new future.”

U.S. oil production has boomed in recent years, and exports of oil and natural gas are surging, primarily because of improved drilling techniques such as fracking that have opened up production in previously out-of-reach areas. Trump has pledged to ramp up production further, withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement because of the limitations that it could have placed on the burning of fossil fuels.

While Trump has promised that the initiative will create millions of jobs, the energy sector employs fewer workers than it did a decade ago despite the recent boom. The Labor Department said there are 655,300 jobs in mining coal and extracting oil and natural gas, down from a peak of 1.18 million jobs in 1981.

As the administration celebrated a self-proclaimed “energy week,” Trump said more steps are needed to “unleash” domestic reserves and remove government regulations that could prevent the U.S. from achieving global dominance in energy.

Trump and other officials say they are confident the country can pave the path toward energy dominance by exporting oil, gas and coal to markets around the world, and promoting nuclear energy and even renewables such as wind and solar power.

The president said Thursday that his administration has also approved construction of a new petroleum pipeline to Mexico. The State Department said it had issued a permit to NuStar Logistics for the construction and operation of the New Burgos Pipeline, which would have the capacity to deliver 108,000 barrels a day and would cross the U.S.-Mexico border near Peoitas, Texas.

Trump suggested the pipeline would run beneath the wall he intends to build along the U.S. southern border to limit illegal immigration, human trafficking and drug smuggling.

“And that will go right under the wall, right?” Trump said.

He said that Sempra Energy signed an agreement to negotiate the sale of natural gas to South Korea and that the Energy Department is approving two applications to export natural gas from a Louisiana terminal. His administration will also perform a complete review of nuclear energy policy and seek to address barriers to financing coal plants overseas, as well as opening up offshore drilling.

Trump signed an executive order in April to expand oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, reversing restrictions imposed by President Barack Obama. Trump has also pushed to revive U.S. coal production after years of decline. Coal mining rose by 19 percent in the first five months of the year as the price of natural gas edged up, according to Energy Department data.

A report released in January by the Energy Information Administration said the country is on track to become a net energy exporter by 2026, although the White House said Tuesday that net exports could top imports as soon as 2020.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said increased offshore drilling could provide more than enough revenue to offset an $11.5 billion maintenance backlog in national parks.

“There’s a consequence when you put 94 percent of our offshore off limits,” Zinke said in a speech this week. “There’s a consequence of not harvesting trees. There’s a consequence of not using some of our public lands for creation of wealth and jobs.”

See the article here.

How Strong is America’s Power Grid?

Via The Montgomery Advertiser:

Americans have been exceptionally fortunate in recent decades to enjoy robust power generation to heat their homes, refrigerate their food, and deliver clean drinking water. Unlike many countries, the United States maintains affordable, non-stop, 24/7 electricity. It’s an impressive feat in a nation of 325 million that continues to add more than 2 million people annually.

As America increases its use of intermittent wind and solar power, it’s important to examine whether the nation can continue to meet its overall energy needs. Recently, Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced a review of the stability of the nation’s power grid – and just as the nation faces conflicting energy problems. Nuclear power, which generates about a fifth of America’s electricity, appears to be winding down, thanks to prohibitive construction costs. And while natural gas generates a third of the nation’s power, export controls are being lifted – which could lead to price increases as both domestic and overseas demand is rising.

Secretary Perry has his work cut out for him, since the task of securing America’s energy grid could stumble into a perfect storm of higher prices. And much-touted renewable power faces its own troubling drawbacks – since the wind doesn’t always blow, and the sun doesn’t always shine. If Washington bets the farm on natural gas and renewables, it’s unclear whether the nation will still be able to meet base load power needs while also maintaining affordable pricing.

These are important issues for the U.S. Department of Energy to consider. But news of Secretary Perry’s study has stirred up controversy nevertheless. The nation’s wind and solar groups have expressed concern over Perry’s intent to conduct a thorough review of the cost-benefit ratios involved in power grid reliability. And with taxpayer-funded subsidies for renewable projects under scrutiny, these groups very much want to justify their position.

Notably, coal still undergirds America’s overall power generation. And with the DOE looking to keep the lights on, coal may play a surprisingly strong role in the coming years.

Right now, coal provides roughly one-third of total U.S. power generation. And 13 states depend on coal for more than half of their overall power supply. Unfortunately, this workhorse effort appears under-appreciated. For example, less than 10 percent of voters in a recent study correctly assessed the scale of emissions reductions attained by coal-powered plants over the past 40 years.

Evidently though, any discussion of coal’s strengths, or the subsidies parceled out to wind and solar projects, disturbs the renewable energy industry. In a recent letter to Secretary Perry, these groups argued that they shouldn’t share the blame for coal’s woes which, they insist, merely stem from low natural gas prices.

But Obama Administration regulations posed real consequences. As Duke University’s Nicholas School has reported, recent government regulations threatened the viability of 56 percent of U.S. coal plants, while competition from much-touted low natural gas prices threatened only 9 percent. Conversely, mounting federal subsidies for renewable energy have shielded the wind and solar industry from competition at the expense of competing sources like coal.

According to the Institute for Energy Research, government policies have meant solar power being subsidized by over 345 times more than coal, and wind being subsidized over 52 times more. And this subsidization is costly. DOE data reveals that each energy sector requires vastly different labor inputs: one coal worker equals two natural gas workers, or 12 wind industry employees, or 79 solar workers. And while coal creates 7,800 jobs per Megawatt-hour, wind yields only 2,200, and solar 98. Without subsidies, wind and solar would fare poorly in the free market against coal and natural gas.

States need to protect their base load power, and Secretary Perry is taking a prudent approach in examining such considerations. The heavily subsidized growth of renewables is indeed impacting other power sources, leaving U.S. taxpayers paying more for a less diverse supply of energy. Thus, Perry is right to consider whether America is still on track to meet future power needs, and at a price that consumers can afford.

Terry Jarrett is an energy attorney and consultant who has served on both the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and the Missouri Public Service Commission.

See the article here.

NMA Applauds President’s Energy Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. The U.S. mining industry applauded the administration’s bold emphasis on creating a robust market for all sources of domestic energy that the president highlighted in his energy speech today.

“A strong energy industry is a goal that will benefit all Americans and is achievable without diminishing the significant environmental protections that Americans rightfully expect,” said National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn.

As an example, Quinn cited the repeal of needless and costly regulation on coal that will allow U.S. consumers to benefit from the world’s largest coal supply. The Clean Power Plan (CPP), recently proposed for rescission by the administration, illustrates the impact of regulations on energy production.

Under the Energy Information Administration’s latest reference case, U.S. coal production will climb “significantly higher” without the constraints of the CPP, rising from 740 million short tons last year to almost 900 mst by 2025. The resulting 280-million-ton annual increase throughout this period could support the addition of 25,000 high-wage miners and ensure households and businesses have a more reliable supply of affordable electricity. Meanwhile, advanced technology is driving emissions reductions, with new coal plants today emitting up to 90 percent fewer emissions than those they replace.

U.S. coal exports, projected to rise this year to more than 71 mst, also serve the needs of the estimated 1.1 billion people in emerging economies who today lack access to affordable electricity. Every million tons of coal exported supports 1,320 jobs throughout the U.S. economy paying an annual average of more than $90,000. For further information on U.S. coal exports, click here.

The nation’s basic industries will benefit from a supply-side energy policy that promotes all energy sources. “U.S. mineral and metal mining is one example of an energy-intensive industry operating in a high-cost environment that is better able to compete in global markets with lower and less volatile energy costs,” Quinn said.

Quinn expects additional priorities for energy de-regulation may be identified next month from Energy Secretary Perry’s assessment of the impact of regulatory policies on baseload power.

See the press release here.

OPINION: Trump’s Energy Plan will Make America the New Saudi Arabia

Via The Hill:

This past week, President Trump renewed his promise of an era of American global energy dominance. It’s an achievable goal and a quintessential “America first” theme that Trump should keep playing.

Trump recognizes what almost all his critics choose to ignore: we are entering an age of American energy renaissance that will last not just years, but many decades. While the left keeps placing bad bets on expensive and unreliable green energy, Trump has a more robust and realistic strategy to make the United States the 21st century Saudi Arabia. We are well on our way getting to that goal given the continuing story of the shale oil and gas explosion.

Here are some facts to think about. Since 2007 America has increased its oil and gas output by 75 percent with most of it coming from North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Since 2015, when Republicans and Congress passed a law ending the oil and gas export ban, the U.S. has exported more than 150 million barrels of crude.

At the moment, natural gas is the disruptive energy source that is blowing away the competition. This is good news for America because we have far more natural gas than anyone, with perhaps the exception of Saudi Arabia. This has the looks of something big. The U.S. has by far the cheapest natural gas and are very capable of replacing the Middle East and Russia as primary suppliers to Europe and Asia.

Thanks in part to Trump’s energy vision, we are now building liquefied gas terminals that will lead to sharp increases in exports of our abundant natural gas. Bloomberg reports that ‎”since starting up last year, Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana — the first major facility sending shale gas overseas — has shipped more than 100 cargoes of [liquefied natural gas] overseas.”

Pipelines are necessary to make this energy future possible, and Trump is already greenlighting these projects that were delayed or killed by President Obama, who hated fossil fuels.

If we are to sprint ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to energy production, we will need to allow drilling on federal lands. We are talking about unlocking some $50 trillion of energy assets lying underneath us. Just the royalties, leases and income taxes generated from all of this energy treasure would raise about $2 trillion in federal revenue.

The liberals left coal for dead, but the remarkable comeback in coal production has proven Trump’s critics wrong. Coal production in the U.S. has risen 19 percent this year, and mining jobs are back as well. That’s a testament to Trump’s reversal of Obama-era regulations meant to bankrupt coal.

We need cheap coal to produce steel and other manufactured good in America, so coal production is basic to keeping blue collar and hard hat jobs here at home in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia.

American production of oil, gas, and coal could easily rise by $100 billion a year and by two to three times that level over time. That’s about 0.5 percent points added to U.S. growth right there. With tax reform, that brings us above 3 percent, and even close to 4 percent fairly easily.

Instead of importing $200 billion of energy every year, the US and Canada could soon easily be exporting that amount. Of course, the current low global price of oil — below $50 a barrel — has all producers struggling mightily as the world absorbs a wonderful glut of cheap energy. But the amazing American frackers are discovering new ways of producing more and more energy at lower and lower costs.

The industry that has gotten most financially flattened by low natural gas prices is green energy. ‎As long as natural gas prices stay below $3 per million cubic feet, wind and solar are as viable as cold fusion for years to come.

It is very simple: without billions upon billions of government mandates, tax credits, production subsidies, and ‎other tax giveaways, there would be virtually no wind and solar industry today in the United States.

As my Heritage Foundation colleague Jack Spencer, an expert on energy policy, puts it, “the only was solar and wind create jobs is by spending taxpayer dollars. Those aren’t real net new jobs because the government has to take a dollar from someone else to handout a dollar.”‎

What industry couldn’t create jobs if the government kept showering it with billions of dollars of free money? We’ve been stupidly doing this since the 1970s. Perhaps there will be breakthroughs that make green energy viable, but we’ve heard those unfulfilled promises now for 40 years.

No one knows where the future will take us with energy technology. Can nuclear power, for example, make a comeback? For now at least, no nation is better poised to exploit the new global age of shale energy.

Better still, this is a fortuitous outcome that won’t cost the government money — as opposed to the green energy racket — but will raise trillions of new tax dollars to fund public programs.

‎It’s a tribute to Trump’s vision and gut instincts that a real estate developer from the northeast gets that when so many so-called energy experts, including Obama, don’t.

See the article here.

The Western US’s Largest Coal Plant Has A ‘Fighting Chance’ Of Survival

Via The Daily Caller:

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke hailed the Navajo Nation’s ratification of a new lease with operators of the largest coal-fired power plant in the western U.S., staving off its immediate decommissioning.

Zinke said the action gave Navajo and Hopi workers a “fighting chance” to keep their jobs at the coal plant and the mine that supplies it.

Navajo Nation ratified a lease agreement with operators of the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) Tuesday to extend power plant and mining operations through 2019. This gives the Department of the Interior, which co-owns the plant, and other stakeholders time to find ways to keep the NGS viable.

“Since the first weeks of the Trump Administration, one of Interior’s top priorities has been to roll up our sleeves with diverse stakeholders in search of an economic path forward to extend NGS and Kayenta Mine operations after 2019,” Zinke said in a statement.

“This Navajo Nation Council’s endorsement of a new lease gives NGS and Kayenta Mine workers a fighting chance and gives Navajo and Hopi economies a moment to regroup for the work ahead,” Zinke said.

NGS and the Kayenta mine that supplies it with coal are important sources of jobs for hundreds of Navajo and Hopi workers. The aging coal plant has struggled to compete with low-priced natural gas and mounting environmental regulations.

NGS is jointly owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Salt River Project, the Arizona Public Service Commission, Tucson Electric Power Company and NV Energy.

Utilities that own NGS voted in mid-February to divest from the plant, opting to build natural gas plants. The new Navajo Nation lease gives the Trump administration another two years to find other owners for the plant.

The Trump administration, however, could also end up buying out other NGS shareholders, or it could work to keep utilities on board. If no new agreement is reached, the plant will be de-commissioned after 2019.

Either way, it’s a hard sell given the costly environmental compliance NGS faces going forward.

NGS operators agreed with Environmental Protection Agency to shut down one of its coal generators after 2019 and add costly emissions control equipment by 2030. The plant already added $1 billion worth of environmental controls in the last two decades.

The Interior Department held talks in March to discuss a plan for NGS going forward. The agency is supposed to act in the best interest of the tribes, and officials don’t want the plant to close and put more than 800 tribal members out of work.

“Now, NGS operations can continue while stakeholders examine opportunities for a new operating partner to extend the life of the plant beyond its original 50-year lease,” Zinke said.

See the article here.

Trump has Returned Hope to Coal Industry, Communities

Via The Lexington Herald-Leader:

For the Kentucky Coal Association, the election of President Donald Trump gave us hope. Instead of vilifying coal like President Barack Obama did, the Trump administration recognizes that coal is a reliable and affordable source of energy.

Coal powers our homes and businesses, and the low energy costs it provides gives the commonwealth a competitive advantage when attracting new employers and jobs. Most members of Kentucky’s congressional delegation have been fighting against the “war on coal” for many years, and Trump has been a fierce ally in getting meaningful regulatory relief across the finish line.

I want to take this opportunity to thank our elected officials who’ve been working to undo some of the damage from the last eight years.

When Trump entered office, Congress and this administration came together to overturn the Obama-era stream buffer rule that attempted to make coal too expensive to mine or use. Even worse, the rule could have put as many as one-third of coal-related jobs at risk.

Sen. Mitch McConnell used his role as majority leader to prioritize the repeal of this regulation by introducing a resolution to overturn this anti-coal rule, the first regulation overturned by the Senate this year. I was proud to stand with McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul as Trump signed the resolution into law, signaling a new era for federal treatment of Kentucky coal.

Next, Trump used a pair of executive orders to dismantle other devastating anti-coal regulations. First, he stopped a rule that tried to extend the federal bureaucracy into nearly every pothole, ditch and puddle — often referred to as the waters of the U.S. rule. Then, his Energy Independence Executive Order initiated the repeal of a pair of regulations seeking to close existing coal-fired plants across the nation and prevent new ones from being built.

KCA also thanks Trump for his recent decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord. McConnell and Paul joined a letter in the Senate and representatives Andy Barr and James Comer signed onto a similar letter in the House urging the president to protect Kentucky coal communities and withdraw the U.S. from this unattainable agreement.

In addition to helping deliver regulatory relief to struggling coal communities, Kentucky senators and representatives have also secured new research funding to support technological advancements for coal. The most recent government-funding legislation included over $660 million to support a Department of Energy program focused on developing new coal technology, which is important to keeping coal competitive.

The industry simply wants to get Washington bureaucracy out of the way so that coal can compete on the open market. Those who blame coal’s downturn on cheap natural gas prices are missing the full picture and are too quick to forget natural gas’ characteristic price volatility. When the Obama administration put coal at a disadvantage, the marketplace followed that direction.

Although it will take some time to recover from the Obama administration’s regulatory damage, I am encouraged that we have recently seen slight increases in coal production in some places and some federal projections estimate increased production over the next few years. It’s too early to say whether a trend in increased coal production will come to fruition, but the regulatory relief has restored some hope.

Trump and leaders in Congress like McConnell have created an optimism about coal by offering their support to struggling communities. As a result, we have seen idle mines start back production and new companies begin operations in some of the most devastated regions of our state. We know that there is still much work to do for Kentucky’s coal country but together we are making strides in a positive direction.

See the article here.

Coal Jobs Rise, Media Blames Trump

Via The Charleston Gazette-Mail:

Here’s one irony emerging from the tumultuous early months of the Trump administration.

The president’s support for the coal industry, and his rollback of costly federal regulations, is gradually helping put coal communities back on their feet.

But the president isn’t getting any credit for it. In fact, instead of recognizing coal’s revival, the media more often describes it as “impossible.”

It’s as if the coal industry has become a surrogate for a presidency that is deeply unpopular with many who think that whatever the president likes must be bad and whatever he aids must fail. It’s the same “government-can’t-bring-them-back” narrative familiar to anyone who recalls the General Motors bailout.

But facts are stubborn things.

Coal has added about 2,000 direct jobs in the last year, with 1,700 just since December 2016. Mines are expanding and new ones are opening in Alabama, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia and here in West Virginia.

Year-to-date production is up about 50 million tons, rail loadings are climbing despite a relatively mild winter, and power sector coal consumption climbed almost 23 percent in March, year to date. Both prices and exports are now expected to tick upward this year.

The Trump administration deserves some credit for this revival.

The Environmental Protection Agency has voided or put on hold costly regulations that would have achieved little or no environmental benefit.

The Department of the Interior has lifted a moratorium arbitrarily placed on federal coal production. And the Energy Department has launched a study to see how regulatory interference — including the retirement of coal plants — has damaged the reliability of the nation’s power grid.

None of this impresses the naysayers, however. They’re simply pushing back the goal posts — and denying the administration any credit — by arguing that coal will never return to its dominant position.

But most miners already know the difference between campaign rhetoric and reality. And few in the industry actually expect “King Coal” to regain the market share it held before the shale gas revolution flooded the energy market with cheap natural gas.

All that coal miners could reasonably expect from the new administration was to get the government off their back and out of the business of picking winners and losers.

Instead of Washington regulators making the decisions on which energy sources the nation could use, let consumers decide what fuel they’ll use for electricity, manufacturing and transportation.

That’s essentially what this administration is doing — removing the regulatory burden from coal and letting it compete against other energy sources in the open market. That’s why lifting the regulations has helped coal mining and the jobs it supports.

Yet even this modest recovery is ignored because it’s President Donald Trump helping coal.

Examples abound. The Washington Post recently belittled the revival of the industry by contrasting the slow growth of coal jobs with the rising number of fast-food workers. That’s an unhelpful comparison though, since coal jobs pay an annual average of $84,000, plus good benefits. Fast-food jobs offer little more than minimum wage.

The article also noted that coal employment has declined since the mid-1980s, a point intended to diminish the impact of Obama-era regulations and lessen credit Trump deserves for removing them.

But coal employment actually climbed by 32 percent from 2000 until 2011, reaching 143,000 before a massive Obama administration rule — and not natural gas production — began forcing almost 20 percent of America’s coal plants out of business.

Some reporters even minimize recent coal job creation by only citing federal data that excludes the contract workers who also work in the mines

Adding these contract workers to the recent jobs tally from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that coal has actually grown by about 2,000 high-wage jobs in the past year — an encouraging uptick for an industry that was hit hard by costly regulations for much of the past decade.

Coal’s critics shouldn’t bury the industry just because Trump promised to revive it.

The question now is whether coal will continue to bear the brunt of media ire against the president, or whether it will be recognized as a sustainable source of good jobs and reliable electricity.

See the article here.

Meet the Face of President Trump’s End to Obama’s War on Coal: Third Generation Pennsylvania Miner

Via Brietbart:

The sun finally came out after a drenching rain storm in Pennsylvania’s Alleghany Mountain country on the first day of the work week. It marked a symbolic development for the coal miners whose future is brighter thanks to President Donald Trump’s efforts to revive an industry that the Obama administration had promised to all but abolish.

For Joey Kostya, that means he can continue a family tradition.

“My father and my grandfather before me were miners,” Kostya said after emerging from a shaft of the mine that broke ground just recently and was celebrated by Trump with Corsa Coal Corporation officials and other dignitaries overlooking the pit that reveals the rich vein of coal that runs beneath the rolling hills.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be speaking with you on this great, great day,” Trump said via video. “The miners of Pennsylvania are mining coal again.

“Washington may be 180 miles down the road, but I want you to know each and every day, I’m fighting for you and all the forgotten men and women of America,” Trump said.

Kostya told Breitbart News that he thinks there’s a future in coal now and he’s glad to keep his job working in the mines.

“I like everything about it,” Kostya said. “It’s a fun job.”

“Something different every day so it keeps it interesting”  Kostya continued before donning his working gloves a

in and heading back into the mine.

“Under a tent perched hundreds of feet above a freshly dug coal pit, about 200 miners, business leaders, and politicians celebrated amid the surge of enthusiasm for the industry,” the Associated Press reported on “opening day.”

“Mining headgear lay atop red, white, and blue table cloths labeled ‘Make Coal Great Again,’” AP reported.

Coal miners gather outside of the mine shaft at the Acosta Deep Mine in Somerset County, Penn.

Indeed, the Acosta Deep Mine in Somerset County, Pennsylvania promises up to 100 jobs and an operation that will create countless tons of metallurgical coal, the ingredient used to make coke, the building block to produce steel — a commodity that’s builds much of what America and the world uses, from buildings and bridges to technological devices.

The mining will take place at this site over at least the next 15 years, revitalizing an area that was hard hit by the Obama energy policies.

The miners will earn between $50,000 and $100,000 a year, according to the New York Post — a boon to an area where the median income is around $29,000 a year.

The underground mine will eventually stretch out for miles without so much as a blade of grass being disturbed on the lush farmland that dominates the region.   view from above the mine shows the surrounding farmland ad a stage decorated with an American flag that was used for the mine’s opening ceremony earlier this month.

“Everyone’s excited about having a mine this big going in,” Ben Gardner, mining engineer with Corsa Coal  the company that owns it, told Breitbart News.

And the mine will not only benefit the miners and the local economy, but will have much broader economic impact felt far beyond the Keystone State, from the millions of dollars worth of high-tech equipment used in the operation, to the transportation industry necessary to deliver the coal to its domestic and global destinations.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat who endorsed Hillary Clinton, said the state awarded a $3 million grant for the project.

“We have not always capitalized on our standing as one of the world’s leaders in these resources, but we’re changing that,” Wolf said at the mine’s opening.

There’s no official signage on the winding roads and picturesque farmland in this part of America, but there’s no doubt this is Trump country.

“The war on coal is over,” Corsa CEO George Dethlefsen said. “Easing the regulatory burden, lowering taxes, stimulating infrastructure spending, balancing out the interest of economic growth versus environmental policy – it’s very good for coal.”

Corsa hopes to open another metallurgical coal mine next year, and another mine in 2019.

Ieed, the Acosta Deep Mine in Somerset County, Pennsylvania promises up to 100 jobs and an operation that will create countless tons of metallurgical coal, the ingredient used to make coke, the building block to produce steel — a commodity that’s builds much of what America and the world uses, from buildings and bridges to technological devices.

The mining will take place at this site over at least the next 15 years, revitalizing an area that was hard hit by the Obama energy policies.

The miners will earn between $50,000 and $100,000 a year, according to the New York Post — a boon to an area where the median income is around $29,000 a year.

The underground mine will eventually stretch out for miles without so much as a blade of grass being disturbed on the lush farmland that dominates the region.

“Everyone’s excited about having a mine this big going in,” Ben Gardner, mining engineer with Corsa Coal  the company that owns it, told Breitbart News.

And the mine will not only benefit the miners and the local economy, but will have much broader economic impact felt far beyond the Keystone State, from the millions of dollars worth of high-tech equipment used in the operation, to the transportation industry necessary to deliver the coal to its domestic and global destinations.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat who endorsed Hillary Clinton, said the state awarded a $3 million grant for the project.

“We have not always capitalized on our standing as one of the world’s leaders in these resources, but we’re changing that,” Wolf said at the mine’s opening.

There’s no official signage on the winding roads and picturesque farmland in this part of America, but there’s no doubt this is Trump country.

“The war on coal is over,” Corsa CEO George Dethlefsen said. “Easing the regulatory burden, lowering taxes, stimulating infrastructure spending, balancing out the interest of economic growth versus environmental policy – it’s very good for coal.”

Corsa hopes to open another metallurgical coal mine next year, and another mine in 2019.

See the article here.

Rick Perry to Issue Major Electric Grid Study by Month’s End

Via The Washington Examiner:

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Tuesday that he expects to release a major study on the reliability of the electric grid by the end of June.

Perry told a House Appropriations Committee budget panel that the study will show the state of the nation’s “baseload” power plants, which typically include plants that provide electricity around the clock, like coal and nuclear, but excludes resources like solar and wind.

The wind industry has been lobbying Perry to ensure that the benefits of wind energy are fairly recognized as an important resource for maintaining the reliability of the electric grid along with fossil fuels. But it has been unclear in the months since the study was first announced what it will conclude about the state of the grid.

Perry told lawmakers that the study will seek to answer the question, “Do we have the baseload?”

The study will examine the role of nuclear energy in providing reliable baseload electricity, as well as “where does our renewables play [a role], what role does carbon capture, utilization, sequestration of coal plants have to play in the baseload,” Perry said. Carbon capture technology is part of President Trump’s strategy to build “clean coal” power plants.

The study will also examine ways to protect the grid from the threat of nation states, or bad actors, attempting to hack into the grid, as seen most recently in Ukraine, he explained.

See the article here.

Coal’s Decline Spreads Far Beyond Appalachia

Via The Wall Street Journal:

SOMERSET, Mass.—Far from the mines of Appalachia, the decline of coal is hitting communities that relied on coal-fired power plants for jobs and income.

During the past five years, roughly 350 coal-fired generating units shut down across the U.S., ranging from small units at factories to huge power plants, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. A single power plant could have one or several units.

Many of these plants were built near the source in Appalachia and western states. But generators built in far-away places like New England have also turned off.

The shutdowns can cost communities both high-paying jobs and important sources of tax revenue. Natural-gas-fired plants have quickly mushroomed up across the U.S. to replace the retiring coal generators, but those plants need far fewer workers—one for every five that worked at a coal plant, by some estimates.

A 54-year-old coal-fired plant here stopped operating three weeks ago, and local officials started raising property taxes several years back to compensate for lower revenue from the town’s largest taxpayer as production slowed.

In Adams County, Ohio, where Dayton Power & Light has said it will shut two coal-fired plants, county auditor David Gifford sees a host of knock-on effects including layoffs for public employees, program cuts for seniors, libraries and schools, as well as a steep hike in property taxes. The plants contributed more than 30% of the county’s $27 million in total tax revenue.

“If the power company shuts their doors, then John Doe on the street is going to have to pay for it,” Mr. Gifford said.

A DP&L spokeswoman said the company decided the plants wouldn’t be economically viable beyond mid-2018, and “we faced an important and difficult outcome.”

It is a scenario being played out elsewhere as more coal-fired power plants retire, squeezed out in part by new, cheaper-to-run natural gas-fired plants.

Two entire plants in New Jersey also closed in June, and more coal units are scheduled to close in places like Tennessee and Michigan. Carbon County, Utah, is still smarting from the loss of a small coal-fired plant two years ago, said Seth Oveson, the county clerk and auditor.

Cassville, Wis., lost 55% of its tax revenue when two former coal plants on either side of town, including one that was converted to burning biomass, shut within four months of each other in 2015, said Keevin Williams, president of the village of 950 people.

Mr. Williams himself worked at one plant for 31 years before retiring. Others moved away to find work. The village on the Mississippi River has cut staff and put off projects, he said.

“We’re a small community. When you lose 90 jobs, that’s 10% of your population,” Mr. Williams said. “That’s made things very tough.”

Last year, natural gas surpassed coal for the first time in U.S. electricity generation, providing 34% of the nation’s power, versus 30% for coal, according to the EIA. As recently as 2011, coal provided roughly 43% of generation.

The reduction in coal-fired power underscores the challenge for President Donald Trump in fulfilling his promise to aid a flagging coal-mining industry because power plants are by far the main consumers of American coal.

Mr. Trump’s moves to undo environmental regulations, and the recent withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, are unlikely to reverse the closure of coal-fired plants, according to Adele Morris, policy director for the Climate and Energy Economics Project at the Brookings Institution. Ms. Morris said their closure is driven mainly by cheap gas and a federal rule limiting mercury and other pollutants.

“There’s an increasing awareness that coal will not return to its former glory,” said Charles Patton, head of external affairs at American Electric Power Co. , a Columbus, Ohio, utility that has shut nine coal-fired power plants since 2011.

Neither the EIA nor the Bureau of Labor Statistics track how this shift has affected coal-fired-plant workers. Coal-fired plants require more staff than typically newer and simpler gas-fired units, according to workers and utilities. A spokesman for the Tennessee Valley Authority, which has also been retiring coal units, said a coal plant could employ roughly 150 to 250 while a new gas plant might need 35 workers.

In Ohio’s Adams County, where 25% of the 28,000 residents live below the poverty line, the prospect of losing the two plants is devastating.

Mr. Gifford, the auditor for the county, said that if the power plants close, the county could be forced to raise the property-tax rate at least 500% in order to maintain school-district debt payments.

Joel Hanson, a veteran at one plant, said he had thought he would be able to work through to retirement at the power plant. Now he may uproot his wife and two young children from the nearby town of Manchester. “It’s like having the rug pulled out from under you,” Mr. Hanson, 43, said. The Utility Workers Union of America, which represents workers at the plants, is trying to find investors to buy them, according to the union.

In Somerset, Brayton Point was the last coal-fired power plant in Massachusetts, and one of just four left in New England. Prior plant owner Energy Capital Partners decided in 2014 to shut the plant due to competition from cheap gas, and current owner Dynegy Inc. followed through.

The plant paid more than $13 million in taxes as recently as five years ago, but payments have declined alongside power production since then, and the town of about 18,000 people has had to shift the burden to other taxpayers, town Finance Director Joe Bolton said. Somerset already lost a smaller coal-fired plant in 2010.

Electrician David Kutz, a 32-year Brayton Point veteran and area homeowner, will receive severance, but said he plans to find new work to help cover medical insurance.

“This plant put so many kids through college, bought so many houses, paid so many taxes,” said Mr. Kutz, who is 59 years old. “It’s hard now seeing people go.”

See the article here.

Former Dem Congressman: End the War on Coal

Via The Hill:

Very few members of Congress have actually shoveled tons upon tons of coal. I have.

I started working in a coal yard at the age of 13 and I know what coal has meant to the development of this great country and the comfort of its people.

I later had the honor of serving in Congress for four terms. As a Democrat from western Pennsylvania, I spent my time in Congress and the years since I left as an advocate for clean American coal.

For Pennsylvania, the reasons to support coal are obvious, regardless of your political affiliation. Until recent years, the coal industry was a cornerstone of our regional economy. An industry that once employed almost 863,000 American workers now employs just over 50,000. According to the most recent statistics, only about 6,600 of those jobs are in Pennsylvania — down more than 16 percent from the previous year.

As the rest of the world relies more and more on coal, Washington has told us to use less. — it wasn’t a suggestion. A single rule passed in 2011 wiped out half of the coal industry’s entire output. Plants shuttered overnight and the jobs that supported them were gone as well. And that’s thanks to just one regulation that is part of a much larger war on coal that has gone on for at least a generation. The casualties are thousands of lost jobs, entire communities shuttered as their sole source of prosperity disappeared thanks to overtly political mandates from Washington.

The damaged caused by the war on coal doesn’t end in Pennsylvania, or even the coal mining regions of Appalachia. Until recently, resilient resources like coal and nuclear energy provided what’s known as “baseload power” to our country’s energy grid. By definition, baseload power is able to withstand sudden and drastic fluctuations in both supply and demand. Coal and nuclear facilities maintain weeks — and up to a year — worth of fuel on-site and have reliable supply chains that can deliver power to customers even under crisis conditions. These fuels are the only energy sources capable of delivering baseload power. But Washington has nearly regulated them out of existence.

This is not an inconvenience. It’s a crisis. Other energy sources have already proven themselves unworthy in the event of a catastrophe. Our reliance on natural gas nearly cost lives during the 2014 polar vortex, when supply disruptions forced power plants to cut production or shut down altogether and prices skyrocketed overnight. And for all of the government subsidies directed toward so-called renewable energy like solar and wind, those sources aren’t anywhere close to being able to meet the country’s energy needs even under ideal circumstances.

If we wait for the next severe weather event or a terrorist attack on our power grid, it will already be too late. We have to act now. The process of changing rules and rolling back regulations in Washington can take years. If we don’t get ahead of the next catastrophe, it could cost lives and lead to massive price volatility.

There is a sliver of hope. Right now, the Department of Energy is conducting a study on baseload power and our nation’s energy supply chain. That study will likely reveal what we already know — that we are in a crisis situation. At that point, it will be up to Energy Secretary Rick Perry and President Trump to act swiftly to roll back regulations, end the war on coal and right the ship so our energy grid is once again fueled by baseload power.

For years, Washington has waged a war on reliable energy under the auspices of environmental protection. This is a false choice. Clean American coal is both responsible and reliable — if only we unshackle it from wild overregulation and political stigma. We can restore energy stability and security in the United States and make this country a world leader when it comes to clean and sustainable energy. That’s no small feat considering that coal consumption is booming in countries like China and India.

In a much more immediate sense, we will find ourselves on stable footing here at home for the first time in years. We need the ability to fuel our grid with reliable, resilient baseload power. It’s good for our workers, it’s good for our national security and it’s good for our country. Washington needs to act immediately.

Former Rep. Ron Klink (D-PA) served four terms in Congress, representing Western Pennsylvania from 1993-2001.

See the article here.

Don’t be So Quick to Dismiss Trump’s Coal Mining Initiative

Via The New York Post:

ACOSTA, PA. — On a warm June morning, a large crowd gathered in the lush, gentle folds of the Allegheny Mountains to hear President Donald Trump live on video.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be speaking with you on this great, great day,” he said. “The miners of Pennsylvania are mining coal again.”

On a stage, five men unfurled a gold banner that blared, in large black letters: “Trump Digs Coal,” as the audience went wild.

For the first time in nearly a decade, a new coal mine has opened here, and a US president has rallied alongside an industry deemed by many as obsolete.

The Acosta Deep Mine in Somerset County marks a dramatic upturn for the area. And while President Trump cannot claim that he brought the industry back here personally (this new mine was already being developed before the election), he is an effective cheerleader for folks who’ve been discounted by the political elite.

“We will begin by employing 70 to 100 miners and we hope to open a total of three new mines in the next 18 months — and that will mean additional hiring,” said George Dethlefsen, CEO of Corsa Coal, which owns the mine.

More than 400 people applied for the first wave of jobs that will pay from $50,000 to $100,000, Dethlefsen said.

In a region where the median household income is $29,050, and nearly 12 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, the economic injection is huge.

It also creates a ripple effect: For every new job generated by the mine, even more jobs like waitresses, hotel workers, barbers or grocery workers are needed to support the community.

“The money essentially stays here in our hometown,” said Greg Griffith, owner of Griffith Excavating, who was working the mine last week with his crew. He has hired new people to take on the workload and will employ even more as the other mines open.

“I don’t think people outside of our small town understand how life-changing this development is.”

He’s right about that. Just days after the event, progressives on Twitter slammed the mine, comparing the opening of an energy-supplying coal pit to the launching a VCR factory in the digital age. In their minds, it’s a waste of time.

And the response from the people of Acosta? Stop treating other Americans like the enemy.

They also point out that the criticism is wildly misinformed. The coal from this mine is not going to be used for energy — instead, it will be used for the production of steel for the next 15 years. (According to the World Steel Association, coal is used to make 70 percent of the steel today.)

Every single one of us relies on steel in our daily lives. It’s found in our cars, bikes and public transportation. Those wind turbines so loved by environmentalists? Made of steel. The utensils we use to eat? Steel. Medical devices used to save lives? Steel.

Roads, bridges, appliances and even iPhones and computers all contain steel.

Meanwhile, digital business publication Quartz also knocked the mine, pointing out that 70 new hires is a significantly smaller number than the 92 jobs one supermarket opening would create.

But most folks in a grocery store don’t earn $50,000 to $100,000, and making an apples-to-oranges comparison (retail vs. mining) demonstrates a lack of understanding about coal country and its work force.

It also encourages the delusion that hiring just 70 people won’t create an economic engine for a community.

“That could not be more wrong-headed,” said Sean Isgan, president of CME Engineering, located right across the street from the Somerset County courthouse.

Because of the new mine, Isgan’s business will also expand. “We will hire geologists, surveyors, engineers, computer draftsmen, biologists, wetland people . . . you know, different kinds of sciences,” he said. “So they’re all good-paying jobs, full benefits.”

The life of a coal miner has changed dramatically in the past 100 years. Even in the last decade, the work has become safer, the processes better regulated.

“There is a tremendous amount of regulation that’s involved in coal mining, whether it’s environmental or safety, both of which are extremely critical and valued parts of our business,” Dethlefsen said.

His company has 20 staffers dedicated to environmental issues — clean water, clean air and reclaiming mine sites.

“We are committed to environmental protection, we are committed to safety, we are committed to restoring land to its original contours,” he said. “We do all those things every day, and we spend millions of dollars doing it. It’s a 24/7, 365-day-a-year effort. That is a big change versus the past.”

But many Americans aren’t aware of this modernization. So having a president who believes in this industry, and rallies publicly for it, means a lot. Trump has “created an optimism in the business community that has trickled down from big companies to small, and for all of their workers,” Dethlefsen said.

It’s this support that compelled the people of Somerset County to give Trump their vote. His loyalty won them over months ago, and it won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

See the article here.

 

Fate of Arizona Coal Mine, Power Station and Tribal Economies Rests with Trump Administration

Via The Washington Times:

An aging power plant in remote Arizona could offer the Trump administration a unique opportunity: the chance to back up its rhetoric about saving the U.S. coal industry with concrete action.

The federal government could be the last, best hope to save the Navajo Generating Station, a coal-fired facility on Navajo Nation land near the Arizona-Utah border that is key to providing water for much of the region, directly supports hundreds of jobs and is the sole customer for a nearby Peabody Energy coal mine.

The Bureau of Reclamation, which owns a 24 percent stake in the project, is desperately seeking a path forward as other owners of the facility head for the exits. Those other owners — four Western utility companies — argue that the generating station is no longer economically viable and, as structured, would run at a $100 million annual loss each year after 2019.

The Navajo Nation is negotiating with the bureau and other owners to keep the plant running through 2019, when its lease expires, and then begin decommissioning. If an agreement can’t be reached, then the Navajo Generating Station could shut down this year.

Even if the plant survives and closes in 2019, the consequences will be devastating and far-reaching. The mine that feeds the plant sits on Hopi Tribe land, and the tribe depends on coal royalties for about 85 percent of its annual budget.

“That’s our lifeline. I don’t sleep very well at night. We’ve got to do something,” Hopi Chairman Herman G. Honanie told The Washington Times last week.

In addition to the job losses and financial peril for the Hopi, Peabody says the future of its Kayenta Mine is bleak without the generating plant as a customer.

Enter the Trump administration. Coal proponents say the Bureau of Reclamation, as a key part of the plant’s ownership group, can and must ensure that the plant doesn’t close and that a long-term solution would serve the interests of Western energy consumers, the Navajo and Hopi tribes, and the American coal industry.

“The consequences to the coal industry are enormous. In this instance, the federal government is an owner. If they refuse to keep a coal-fired plant open that they own, how can they encourage anyone else to do the same?” said Michael McKenna, a Republican Party strategist who worked on the Trump transition team. “If they allow this lease to be signed, this plant to close, then the rhetoric about coal from the president has been a lie. The administration has an opportunity to do something meaningful here. Words are good. Actions are better.”

The Navajo Nation says a vote could be held as early as next week on extending the generating station’s operations through 2019. They also have expressed interest in the Bureau of Reclamation taking over full ownership of the entire facility by the start of next decade — though government officials say such an arrangement would be unprecedented.

“Interior hopes that the NGS stakeholders can find a way to extend the life of the plant and the Kayenta Mine past 2019 with financially viable operations,” said Dan DuBray, a spokesman for the Bureau of Reclamation, a division of the Interior Department. “The administration has described this NGS activity as part of its commitment to the coal industry; it is one example of the many links to our economy and jobs that American mining and coal-generated energy provide. If any federal ownership of this operation were to be proposed, it would likely require new or expanded authorities that do not currently exist.”

The government’s partial ownership of the project is in and of itself a unique situation. The 2,250-megawatt plant came online in 1974, and the federal interest grew out of the need for a major power source to pump water through the region. Initial construction costs topped $650 million, not counting millions of dollars in upgrades over the years.

Interior has a 24 percent stake in the project, with various Western utilities owning the rest. Salt River Project controls 42.9 percent of the Navajo Generating StationArizona Public Service owns 14 percent, and NV Energy and Tucson Electric Power own 11.3 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively.

The utilities announced in February that they would pull out of the project post-2019, arguing that the rise of U.S. natural gas has left coal-fired facilities such as the Navajo Generating Station at a massive disadvantage in the marketplace.

“The major issue surrounding this plant — and it’s industrywide — is economics,” said Scott Harelson, a spokesman for Salt River Project. “To be quite frank, we were probably working a little bit against reality trying to figure out how can we still make Navajo work. Those are our employees. We’ve operated that plant for a long time. It’s important to that area, and we realize that.

“Ultimately, it became clear it just was not going to be economical,” he said. “It was too expensive to operate.”

Mr. Harelson said the ideal outcome for the utilities is to run the plant through 2019 and then maintain access to the site for decommissioning and cleanup. The Navajo Nation, meanwhile, has expressed interest in possibly building solar panels or other renewable energy projects in the same area and taking advantage of the electricity infrastructure already there.

But such a scenario, if it comes to pass, would be a high-profile defeat for the coal industry. Peabody says it has already offered a long-term fixed price for the coal that feeds the plant, and it has released economic studies that it says prove the plant can, in fact, compete with any other power generation source on the market today.

Peabody has come to the table with a fixed coal price proposal representing a competitive fuel cost versus alternate generation sources,” said Peabody spokeswoman Beth Sutton. “Study findings confirm our belief that NGS is economically viable and provide momentum for stakeholders to continue working toward solutions that will allow NGS operations for many years.”

Supporters of the facility say that despite the legal and logistical challenges, the administration, if it’s serious about aiding the coal industry, should consider stepping in as full owner once utilities officially pull out and could cut more regulations that would allow the Navajo Generating Station to operate more economically.

“If the United States [government] really wants to put their money where their mouth is, they’ll say we’ll stay in as owner and start removing these red tape regulations,” said Mark Lewis, a board member of the Central Arizona Project, which depends on the generating station for the vast majority of power needed to pump water through its 336-mile water delivery system.

See the article here.

Hope is Important for the Deep South Coalfield Counties

Via The Bluefield Daily Telegraph: 

As I scanned through our internal online archives, I found the headlines to be both alarming and depressing. I was looking for story ideas, and subsequently found myself perusing through several years of older articles.

These older articles told the story of a region fighting for survival against an administration in Washington that was causing great harm to the greater Appalachia region.

Headline after headline documented this frustrating struggle, and the outrage associated with the onslaught that was more commonly known as Washington’s War on Coal.

These articles also told a story that was largely absent from the national news media during the eight long years of the Obama administration.

To the rest of the nation, those of us living in coal country were viewed as outcasts. Folks who were stubbornly reluctant to follow the national narrative, and to openly embrace wind and solar energy at the expense of thousands of good-paying jobs here in the greater Appalachia region.

At the time many of these articles were written, hope was in short supply. It appeared at the time that Republicans across the nation had made a huge mistake in nominating a billionaire reality television star for the all-important White House race.

It seemed almost certain during those challenging days that a continuation of the Obama administration, and the anti-coal, anti-fossil fuel policies, would continue for at least another four years under yet another Democratic president.

Oh how wrong we were.

Looking back now it is almost easy to forget how difficult and frustrating things were here in the coalfields during those past eight years.

Say what you may about President Donald Trump, but his election — and his support of coal — has helped the region. We now have hope in southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia. But we won’t bounce back overnight. It will take time. And a lot of patience.

Yes, we are mining coal again. Yes, more coal cars are moving through Bluefield. No — under no circumstances — can we pin all of our hope on coal again. We must instead continue to diversify our regional economy.

Projects like the Hatfield-McCoy Trail, Spearhead Trail and the Back of the Dragon are great starting points when it comes to economic diversification. But additional projects and efforts will be needed. The region’s elected leaders must be proactive.

Still at the same time, any and all new coal mining jobs that are created in the region will help our economy. It all comes down to hope. Hope is something that was in short supply during that long eight-year period of upheaval here in the coalfields. Now we do, and a positive attitude can go a long ways in helping our region.

It is worth noting that the headlines are now more encouraging. Suddenly the future looks a little brighter. The dark days chronicled in those earlier articles are over. With hope, new economic development and growth will continue in the region.

See the article here.

A Few Positive Signs for the State’s Economy

Via The West Virginia MetroNews:

The biggest reason Governor Justice and lawmakers are sweating out the budget for next fiscal year is that coal and natural gas severance tax collections have plummeted. According to the state budget office In fiscal year 2014, those industries paid $489 million into the state’s General Revenue Fund.  Two years later, the amount collected had fallen to almost half ($276 million).

The Governor and lawmakers would have a much easier time coming to agreement on a budget if those industries bounced back (or the state had substantial growth in other areas). Now we’re seeing some positive signs in the state’s economy.

The Monthly Mountain State Business Index (MSBI) issued by WVU’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) reports the state’s economy is recovering after a long and painful downturn and moderate growth is expected over the next several months.

Brian Lego, BBER research assistant professor, says the coal numbers were off slightly in May, but “coal production activity has improved measurably since late last year.” Southern West Virginia coal production is up ten percent from this time a year ago.

Just last week, Alpha Natural Resources announced it is openinga metallurgical coal mine in Raleigh County.  “Recent improvement in the market has created more demand for our coal,” said Alpha Vice President of Operations Charlie Bearse.   This week, Corsa Coal announced a coal mine opening near Pittsburgh. There’s no economic benefit to West Virginia, but it is still a positive sign for the industry.

Natural gas production is also trending upward. “The state’s natural gas industry has emerged from a sustained period of weakness,” said Lego, “and though its performance is not anywhere close to what was observed in 2014, several firms have increased drilling activity and four activity rigs have been added since the beginning of the year.”

The improvements in coal and gas are bringing in more tax dollars to the state.  Severance tax collections have reached $274 million dollars through May.  That’s 17 percent higher than projections with still one month left in the fiscal year.  Additionally, new hires will increase payroll tax collections and employed workers have money to spend, helping the local economy.

National Mining Association President and CEO Hal Quinn now sounds more optimistic about the future of his industry.  “A change in the fortunes of U.S. coal is on the horizon with recent changes in politics, policy and markets,” Quinn wrote.  “For U.S. coal, some of the headwinds blowing against us in the past few years now appear to be filling our sails.”

West Virginia is badly in need of those favorable breezes. Right now it just feels like a puff, but even that is enough to get the ship moving in these becalmed waters.  If the trend continues, the economic growth will make the state’s budget problems much more manageable.

See the article here.

PA Coal Mine, Praised as Lifeline for Local Economy

Via Fox News: 

Around 200 miners, business leaders and local politicians stood around tables covered in mining headgear and tablecloths labeled “Make Coal Great Again” as they overlooked a freshly dug coal pit located around 60 miles southwest of Pittsburgh.

The group was assembled for the opening of Corsa Coal Corp’s Acosta mine – the country’s newest mining operation – which will dig up metallurgical coal for use in a booming steel industry and is expected to generate up to 100 full-time jobs. Hundreds of job applications already have poured in.

Although many analysts have predicted a decline in coal extraction, the mine has been praised locally as an economic lifeline for a region hard hit by the decline in coal-fired power plants and – despite Corsa starting work on the mine last August – it’s been hailed by President Trump as proof that environmental deregulation will bring jobs to the struggling industry.

“When I campaigned for president I said that we would end the war on coal and put our incredible miners-that’s what you are you are incredible – back to work,” Trump said in a video played for the crowd gathered in Somerset County.

Trump has made reversing the decades-long decline in coal mining the central tenet of his environmental policy – blaming federal regulations aimed at curbing planet-warming carbon emissions for job losses in the industry. The revival of the industry was one of Trump’s main talking points while on the stump last year and helped him win over working class voters in Pennsylvania’s coal country.

“The tone of government has completely changed,” Corsa CEO George Dethlefsen told Fox News. “Coal is no longer a four letter word.”

Since taking office, Trump and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt have targeted laws that protected waterways from coal waste and required states to slash carbon emissions from power plants. About a dozen protesters chanted in opposition to the mine at the opening, but the mine seems to be overwhelmingly popular in Somerset County.

“It will put guys back to work and out money in their pockets,” James Yoder, a Somerset County Commissioner, told Fox News. “It’s going to be a boom for everyone.”

Somerset County – which is best known for being the site of the United Airlines Flight 93 crash on September 11, 2001 – has an unemployment rate of around 6.8 percent, almost 2 points more than Pennsylvania as a whole, and Yoder said that any new jobs in the region are “not going to hurt.”

“The coal industry here is like a rollercoaster,” he said. “We’ve been going downhill for a number of years, but now it looks like we’re starting to go back up.”

The mine will produce approximately 400,000 tons of metallurgical coal annually during its 15 year lifespan and will employ between 70 and 100 people, while the mine’s trickledown effect could create another 300 to 400 jobs.

While Trump’s pro-coal agenda has put him at odds with many Democratic lawmakers, the Acosta Mine enjoys bipartisan support in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf – a Democrat who is a sharp critic of Trump’s plan to leave the Paris Climate Accord – was on hand for the mine opening. The state doled out a $3 million grant for the mine, which helped offset the $15 million or so initial investment, and Wolf called the mine an effort to bring back jobs and industry to an economically-beleaguered part of Pennsylvania.

“We have not always capitalized on our standing as one of the world’s leaders in these resources, but we’re changing that,” Wolf said.

Part of Wolf’s support for the mine may be the mine will be used for metallurgical coal, which has less impurities and is generally seen as cleaner than the coal used to fire power plants.

The metallurgical coal being pulled from the new mine, however, is part of a niche market that makes up only between 5 percent and 10 percent of coal production and operates independently of the market for power-generating coal plants.

Analysts emphasize that the new mine doesn’t reflect a long-term revival in the coal industry as a whole, which continues to struggle amid mechanization and cheaper, cleaner energy alternatives such as natural gas and renewables.

“There may be an uptick in the industry from time to time, but overall the outlook for the future of coal is pretty bleak,” Tom Sanzillo, the director of finance at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, told Fox News. Over the next 35 years, Sanzillo said, the market for metallurgical coal is expected to remain stagnant, while steaming coal will continue its downward trend.

“That means there will not be much of a robust job market,” he added.

See the article here.

Winning: Trump Touts Opening of New Coal Mine in Pennsylvania

Via Brietbart:

President Donald Trump spoke via video Thursday for the opening of a new coal mine outside of Pittsburgh, saying it’s proof that he is keeping his campaign promise to create jobs for miners and create industries to benefit the U.S. economy.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be speaking with you on this great, great day. The miners of Pennsylvania are mining coal again,” Trump said in the video shown at the event with miners, executives and dignitaries, according to the Tribune-Review.

“Washington may be 180 miles down the road, but I want you to know each and every day, I’m fighting for you and all the forgotten men and women of America,” Trump said.

Corsa Coal Corporation is expected to create 100 jobs for the operation that will supply coal for the manufacture of steel.

“Under a tent perched hundreds of feet above a freshly dug coal pit, about 200 miners, business leaders, and politicians celebrated amid the surge of enthusiasm for the industry,” the Associated Press reported. “Mining headgear lay atop red, white, and blue table cloths labeled ‘Make Coal Great Again.’”

Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat who endorsed Hillary Clinton, said the state awarded a $3 million grant for the project.

“We have not always capitalized on our standing as one of the world’s leaders in these resources, but we’re changing that,” Wolf said.

Trump and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt have targeted federal regulations that make production of coal subject to harsh water protection policies and other restrictions.

“One by one, we’re eliminating the regulations that threaten your jobs, and that’s one of the big reasons you’re opening today: Less regulation,” Trump said at the recent Rose Garden ceremony where he announced that the U.S. is withdrawing from the Paris climate change accord. “We have withdrawn the United States from the horrendous Paris climate accord, something that would have put our country back decades and decades, we would have never allowed ourselves to be great again.”

“The metallurgical coal being pulled from the new mine is a niche market that makes up only between 5 percent and 10 percent of coal production and operates independently of the market for power-generating coal,” AP reported. “Analysts emphasize that the new mine doesn’t reflect a long-term revival in the coal industry as a whole, which continues to struggle.”

But Corsa’s chief executive, George Dethlefsen, said Trump has made the entire mining industry feel more optimistic about the future.

“The war on coal is over,” Dethlefsen said. “Easing the regulatory burden, lowering taxes, stimulating infrastructure spending, balancing out the interest of economic growth versus environmental policy – it’s very good for coal.”

Corsa hopes to open another metallurgical coal mine next year, and another mine in 2019.

“I won’t lie, we doubted if we were going to have jobs, if the company was going to make it,” said Matt Owens, a mine safety coordinator who got into coal after his factory employer shut down a decade ago. “But they did.”

R.J. Harris of Harrisburg’s 580-WHP, said the mine opening is a “shot in the arm” for the Keystone economy, Fox Insider reported.

See the article here.

Another Promise Kept — First Coal Mine Opens Under Trump Administration

Via The Daily Caller:

President Trump during his campaign promised to “put our miners back to work.” That promise was at least partially fulfilled since the Corsa Coal Company opened, making it the first American corporation to open a new coal mine in six years.

Prominent political pundits deemed this pledge as just another empty promise made to further his campaign redirect of “Being the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” The Institute For Energy Economics And Financial Analysis (IEEFA) went so far as to say that “Promises to create more coal jobs will not be kept – indeed the industry will continue to cut payrolls”.

The mine is expected to operate in a coal producing capacity for a minimum of 15 years. Corsa executives forecast the creation of 70-100 jobs in the new mine.

The mining industry has been experiencing significant headwinds, having lost over 191,000 jobs since 2014.

Coal miners in Pennsylvania clapped and cheered as President Trump made his announcement. “I’m absolutely thrilled to be speaking with you on this great, great day,” Trump exclaimed. “The miners of Pennsylvania — we’re digging coal again.”

Trump’s kind words sit in stark contrast to Hillary Clinton’s sentiment voiced on the campaign trail. At a West Virginia town hall in March, Hillary Clinton pledged to “Put a lot of coal miners & coal companies out of business” in pursuit of transitioning America to clean renewable energy.

See the article here. 

First New Coal Mine of Trump Era Opens in Pennsylvania

Via Fox News Insider: 

President Trump lauded the opening of the nation’s first new coal mine in recent memory.

Corsa Coal Company will operate the mine in Somerset County, Pa. – outside of Pittsburgh.

Corsa CEO George Dethlefsen said the mine will be a boon to the struggling local economy.

He praised Trump’s easing of regulations and encouragement for fossil fuel exploration.

Dethlefsen told Leland Vittert that for the 70 positions available in the mine, 400 people applied.

“It’s a hard day’s work every day, but it’s worth it,” one miner said.

Vittert said the news contrasts with Hillary Clinton’s message that she would “put a lot of coal miners out of work.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who endorsed Clinton, joined the mine company in watching a video message from Trump commemorating the occasion.

R.J. Harris, a longtime host on Harrisburg’s 580-WHP, said the mine opening is a “shot in the arm” for the Keystone economy.

See the article here.

New Coal Mine Touted by Trump Opens in Pennsylvania

Via The Washington Post:

FRIEDENS, Pa. — President Donald Trump hailed the opening Thursday of a new coal mine as proof deregulation is helping bring jobs to the industry, even though plans for the mine’s opening were made well before Trump’s election.

Corsa Coal Corp. will supply coal used in making steel and is expected to generate up to 100 fulltime jobs. The company said it decided in August to open the Acosta mine 60 miles south of Pittsburgh after a steel industry boom drove up prices for metallurgical coal.

Under a tent perched hundreds of feet above a freshly dug coal pit, about 200 miners, business leaders, and politicians celebrated amid the surge of enthusiasm for the industry. Mining headgear lay atop red, white, and blue table cloths labeled “Make Coal Great Again.”

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said the mine was part of an effort to bring back jobs and industry to the state. Pennsylvania awarded a $3 million grant for the project.

“We have not always capitalized on our standing as one of the world’s leaders in these resources, but we’re changing that,” Wolf said.

Trump has made reversing the decades-long decline in coal mining the central tenet of his environmental policy, blaming federal regulations aimed at curbing planet-warming carbon emissions for job losses in the industry. Trump and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt have targeted laws that protected waterways from coal waste and required states to slash carbon emissions from power plants. About a dozen protesters chanted in opposition to the mine at the opening.

Trump noted the impending opening of the mine last week during his speech announcing the nation’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. He said then he had hoped to attend the event; he participated via recorded video message, taking partial credit for the opening.

“One by one, we’re eliminating the regulations that threaten your jobs, and that’s one of the big reasons you’re opening today: Less regulation,” Trump said. “We have withdrawn the United States from the horrendous Paris climate accord, something that would have put our country back decades and decades, we would have never allowed ourselves to be great again.”

The metallurgical coal being pulled from the new mine is a niche market that makes up only between 5 percent and 10 percent of coal production and operates independently of the market for power-generating coal. Analysts emphasize that the new mine doesn’t reflect a long-term revival in the coal industry as a whole, which continues to struggle.

Corsa’s chief executive, George Dethlefsen, said Trump has made the entire mining industry more optimistic.

“The war on coal is over,” he said. “Easing the regulatory burden, lowering taxes, stimulating infrastructure spending, balancing out the interest of economic growth versus environmental policy — it’s very good for coal.”

The price of metallurgical coal tripled to over $300 a ton over the past year after China slashed its coal production and the steel industry bounced back from a global downturn. Cyclones disrupted supplies in Australia, the world’s biggest exporter of metallurgical coal, pushing prices higher. Though prices have sagged since then, Dethlefsen said he is confident that the mine will be profitable for a while to come.

“The supply chain for metallurgical coal is extremely fragile. Whether it’s cyclones in Australia, government policy in China . there’s always something that could disrupt the supply chain and prices to shoot up.” Dethlefsen said. “If we can keep our costs low, we can compete with any country in the world.”

Corsa hopes to open another metallurgical coal mine next year, and a second in 2019.

Power-generating coal mines continue to struggle, facing fierce competition from cheap natural gas and renewable energy. Over a dozen coal-fired plants from Nevada to Massachusetts are projected to shut their doors this year, according to a report by the nonprofit Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

“If Trump brings back the coal, it’s not going to bring back the jobs,” said Jay Apt, an energy policy professor at Carnegie Mellon University. “Those jobs are gone, automation has seen to that.”

Still, for the workers here, the grand opening is allowing them a sigh of relief. Though most are longtime Corsa employees brought in from other facilities, many were jittery after a mine closing in 2014 left hundreds collecting unemployment benefits.

“I won’t lie, we doubted if we were going to have jobs, if the company was going to make it,” said Matt Owens, a mine safety coordinator who got into coal after his factory employer shut down a decade ago. “But they did.”

See the article here.

NMA Urges Reform of Broken Program for Abandoned Coal Mines

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The chief executive of the national trade association representing the U.S. coal industry today told a congressional panel that the federal program funded by the coal industry to help clean up old abandoned coal mines has been plagued by an inefficient structure and lax management leading to billions of dollars spent for other purposes.

“Of the almost $11 billion that the coal industry has paid into the Abandoned Mine Lands fund since its inception in 1977, only $2.8 billion of the $8.5 billion spent to date from the Fund has resulted in the reclamation of priority coal abandoned mine sites,” said National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn. Testifying this morning before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Quinn said the $5.7 billion gap between expenditures and actual reclamation reveals that only one of every three dollars has been spent on the priority coal AML lands.

From the information available from the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement, Quinn said “it is difficult if not impossible to account for this $5.7 billion gap. This is not only a financial gap but a credibility gap for the program.”

Quinn cited findings from the National Academy of Sciences, the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in summarizing serious and persistent shortcomings in a program failing to deliver better results on its core mission. Quinn noted that the program structure has been divided into too many competing buckets of money leading to the diversion of substantial sums to non-core purposes. “We need fewer buckets scooping up and diverting money and more focus on the top priority coal AML projects,” Quinn stated. Lax oversight has further enabled the sub-optimal results, according to Quinn.

With the 45-year old AML tax on the coal industry expiring in 2021, Quinn recommended that planning begin now for an orderly distribution of the remaining funds to non-certified states with assurances they are spent wisely on priority coal abandoned mined lands.

Link to Quinn’s June 7 testimony to the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources

See the press release here.

Coal Plays Crucial Role in Strong Energy Mix

Via The Knoxville News Sentinel:

The Trump administration is letting the coal industry compete again, and that’s a big win for consumers. Under President Barack Obama, the nation’s de facto energy policy was designed to make it more difficult and costly to produce coal and use its energy. The result was just as Obama promised: Over 400 mines shut down and more than 80,000 U.S. miners lost their jobs.

While bottom-floor natural gas prices, along with taxpayer subsidies for wind and solar power, have contributed to the coal industry’s struggles, the role played by federal regulatory policy should not be overlooked. If not for the timely and unexpected emergence of the U.S. shale revolution, those policies could have been devastating for consumers.

Despite the Obama administration’s success in putting the thumbscrews to the nation’s most affordable source of power, electricity prices — for the most part — did not spike. The former president’s allies have pointed to this absence of rising electricity prices as vindication for their agenda. But the absence of soaring electricity prices was by chance, not carefully constructed policy. America’s shale revolution, and our newly abundant supply of natural gas, took up the slack from the chokehold on coal.

Today, many in the energy industry assume natural gas will stay cheap. They may well be right, but we shouldn’t bet affordable energy on it. A shift to over-reliance on natural gas carries real risks to affordable energy.

In a diverse economy of more than 300 million people, the last thing we need is to push all our energy chips to one square on the table. A balanced energy mix from multiple sources provides stability to electricity rates and shields consumers from potential price spikes from one fuel source.

High-efficiency, low-emission coal technology — which is already commercially proven and available — could help us maintain low-cost energy while improving the environmental performance of the nation’s coal fleet. Pulverized coal combustion systems, integrated gasification systems and other new technologies allow coal plants to operate at higher temperatures and operate more efficiently. The average efficiency of the current fleet is 33 percent. Some new coal plants in Europe and Japan using advanced technology are achieving efficiencies in the 42-46 percent range. That jump in efficiency can reduce emissions by 20 percent or more.

With many of our nation’s coal power plants getting long in the tooth, the timing couldn’t be better to welcome investment in the new, cleaner, far more efficient coal technologies that will protect our energy mix and serve our nation for generations.

Coal power plants still provide a third of U.S. electricity, and we desperately need that reliable, low-cost power. Dialing back regulatory overreach that did such damage to the coal industry was an important first step. Maintaining coal’s contribution to our energy mix and ensuring our energy diversity should be next. A balanced energy mix that ensures affordable and reliable energy must be the focus of the nation’s energy policy once again.

Matthew Kandrach is president of Consumer Action for a Strong Economy, a nonpartisan, free-market consumer advocacy organization. 

See the article here.

Guest Opinion: America Deserves Clean Coal Tech

Via The Billings Gazette:

At the start of his term, President Donald Trump halted new regulations on coal-fired power plants in the United States. His decision provoked plenty of criticism, with some arguing that the president had chosen to prop up a “dying industry.” Realistically, though, he has simply given coal the chance to compete in the free market — and to demonstrate whether it has the pricing and environmental profile to survive. It now appears, however, that with some smart investment, coal could actually thrive as a plentiful source of low-carbon energy.

For starters, coal may be more competitive than predicted. According to spot energy prices in April, coal per million BTU cost a full dollar less than natural gas.

This relative affordability for coal may surprise some, given the recent natural gas boom. But natural gas prices have been rising —recalling the price volatility occasionally seen over the past 20 years. This bodes well for coal’s continued use, but its growth will depend on the development of advanced technologies to rein in emissions. Because we are a nation of innovators, though, this is a promising path for coal, since advanced technologies suggest game-changing breakthroughs may be on the horizon.

New coal plants are 90 percent cleaner than 30 years ago. The modern U.S. coal fleet employs at least 15 different high-tech systems to trap sulfur, mercury, and particulate emissions. But the challenge is still to reduce or capture carbon dioxide emissions that presumably cause climate change.

This is where advanced research enters the picture, thanks to technologies like “carbon capture,” i.e., CO2 emissions are captured before they are released into the atmosphere. Some of these processes involve using CO2 to enhance oil recovery with the CO2 subsequently sequestered underground. For example, NRG Energy in Texas is using carbon dioxide from a coal-burning power plant to extract more oil and natural gas from old wells.

There are also carbon capture systems being used for industrial processes. A company in Alberta, Canada, is injecting power plant carbon dioxide emissions into concrete, a process that reduces the need for composite materials while also yielding stronger concrete.

These advanced technologies that offer both economic and environmental benefits. And they could matter greatly over the next 10 to 20 years, as advanced coal plants, including some retrofitted with carbon capture, are constructed to meet the world’s growing energy needs.

 The same efforts to stimulate innovation for wind and solar power should be extended to coal. Municipalities depend on an energy infrastructure that can truly “carry the load” by also supplying clean drinking water, waste treatment, high-tech medical care, and other vital needs.

Unfortunately, solar and wind still remain frustratingly low-yield and intermittent as sources of power generation; the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. Coal remains well positioned to support affordable baseline power in the United States thanks to our world-leading coal reserves. Coal has already become the energy source of choice for developing nations like China and India. Even Japan is now expanding its coal fleet, utilizing high-efficiency, low emissions technology.

While renewables like solar and wind offer great promise as part of an industrialized nation’s energy portfolio, coal and other fossil fuels will likely remain the backbone of the global energy system for years to come. It’s more important than ever to invest in advanced technologies to improve their efficiency and environmental performance.

See the article here.

Dependability of U.S. Electrical Grid Deserves Greater Scrutiny

Via RealClear Energy:

There are almost 320 million people in the United States. And they all depend on one thing in common every day—reliable, affordable electricity. Not only do Americans count on robust power generation to heat their homes, refrigerate their food, and supply clean drinking water, but the pricing for this electricity also affects costs for groceries, transit, and even household items like clothing and toothpaste.

Essentially, the health of the U.S. economy is intricately intertwined with the ongoing security and reliability of the nation’s power grid. While serving on the Missouri Public Service Commission, I considered it of paramount importance to protect this base load power—to “keep the lights on” for consumers, and at reasonable prices.

Recently, Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced a review of the stability of the nation’s power grid. And undoubtedly, he has these kinds of pricing concerns in mind for a planned study on whether “regulatory burdens” and “mandates and tax and subsidy policies” favoring renewable energy are now impacting overall energy costs.

This is a responsible step for the U.S. Department of Energy to take. But Secretary Perry’s announcement has stirred up controversy nevertheless. The nation’s wind and solar groups have expressed concern over Perry’s intent to conduct a thorough review of the cost-benefit ratios involved in power grid reliability. And with taxpayer-funded subsidies for renewable projects potentially under scrutiny, these groups very much want to rebut the notion that “renewable generation is responsible for the retirement of coal.”

Safeguarding the security of America’s power grid shouldn’t be held captive to partisan wrangling, though. Especially when the impact of recent regulations have been undeniably damaging to base load power plants that are the mainstay of the nation’s power grid.

Unfortunately, most Americans are likely unaware of the impact that recent federal regulations have posed for both power grid reliability and overall energy costs. For example, less than 10 percent of voters could assess the scale of emissions reductions that have already been attained by coal-powered plants over the past 40 years. And President Obama’s plan to reduce power plant CO2 emissions would have prematurely forced 25 percent of the nation’s coal generation capacity off the electric grid—enough to power 24 million homes. This would have significantly impacted electricity prices throughout the nation.

Evidently though, any examination that underscores the impact of regulations on coal plants—and the subsidies parceled out to wind and solar projects—disturbs the renewable energy industry. In a recent letter to Secretary Perry, these wind and solar groups argued that they shouldn’t share the blame for coal’s woes which, they insist, merely stem from low natural gas prices.

But regulations have consequences. As Duke University’s Nicholas School has reported, recent government regulations have threatened the viability of 56 percent of U.S. coal plants, while competition from much-touted low natural gas prices threatened only 9 percent of coal plants. Conversely, mounting federal subsidies for renewable energy have shielded the wind and solar industry from competition at the expense of competing sources like coal and nuclear power.

According to the Institute for Energy Research, government policies have led to solar power being subsidized by over 345 times more than coal, and wind being subsidized over 52 times more. And this subsidization is costly for consumers. Data from the Department of Energy reveals that each energy sector requires vastly different labor inputs to produce the same amount of electricity: one coal worker equals two natural gas workers, or 12 wind industry employees, or 79 solar workers. And while coal creates 7,800 jobs per Megawatt-hour, wind yields only 2,200, and solar 98. Without subsidies, wind and solar would fare poorly when competing in the free market against coal and natural gas.

States need to protect their base load power, and Secretary Perry is taking a prudent approach in examining such considerations. The heavily subsidized growth of renewables is indeed impacting other power sources, leaving U.S. taxpayers paying more for a less diverse supply of energy. Thus, Perry is right to consider whether America is still on track to meet future power needs, and at a price that consumers can still afford.

See the article here.