By Roger Bezdek, for the U.S. Department of Energy
(WASHINGTON) – The U.S. coal industry is distressed, and the fate of U.S. coal mining regions and jobs figured prominently in the 2016 Presidential election. EIA forecasts that coal will continue to decrease as a source of U.S. electricity production through 2050. The economic and societal costs of coal mine closures are large, and the decline of the coal industry has taken a heavy toll. For example, the increased poverty associated with coal job losses is startling, and in some eastern Kentucky counties poverty rates exceed 30% and child poverty rates approach 50%.
[The study shows that] coal-related job losses in Appalachia were actually four times as large as is generally reported, and the job losses in the U.S. were nearly six times as large. These job losses in Appalachia over a five year period had devastating consequences – especially for Kentucky and West Virginia. Absent these losses, both states would have experienced full employment instead of recession. Coal jobs are thus the difference between recession and full employment, especially at the county level. Further, coal jobs in Appalachia pay very well. For example, a coal mining job in eastern Kentucky pays more than twice as well as the average private sector job in the state.
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WASHINGTON, DC, October 9, 2017– The American Coal Council welcomes the announcement by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt that he plans to sign a proposed rule on Tuesday “to withdraw the so-called Clean Power Plan” previously issued under the Obama administration. Pruitt made the announcement today while visiting coal country in Hazard, Kentucky. He also once again took the opportunity to declare an end to the war on coal.
“The Clean Power Plan was an ill-conceived regulation, unprecedented in scope and reach. It attempted to thrust EPA into the role of energy regulator. It would have dramatically transformed how electricity is produced and distributed in the U.S. Economic harm impacting far more than the coal sector would have been the result, including double-digit electricity cost increases for families and businesses.” ACC CEO Betsy Monseu said. “In response to the ensuing legal challenges by more than half of the states, the Supreme Court issued an unprecedented stay of the rule in 2016.”
“We welcome today’s announcement and thank President Trump and Administrator Pruitt for their continuing efforts to address regulatory overreach and restore appropriate balance.”
The American Coal Council represents the collective interests of the American coal industry from the hole-in-the-ground to the plug-in-the-wall ~ in advocating for coal as an economic, abundant and environmentally sound fuel source.
HOUSTON — Coal exports from terminals in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region totaled 2.77 million st in July, up 3.4% from the prior month and up 61.7% from the year-ago month, according to the Virginia Maritime Association.
Exports rose as both low volatility hard coking coal and European-delivered thermal coal prices ticked up compared with June levels.
S&P Global Platts assessments of HCC metallurgical coal averaged $156/mt FOB US East Coast in July, up from $144.93/mt the prior month, and Platts assessments of CIF ARA delivered thermal coal averaged $83.49/mt, up from $79.48/mt in June.
NEW YORK — A group representing power generators across the European Union warned that the bloc’s plans to limit the use of coal may backfire, encouraging utilities to seek returns on new fossil-fuel plants instead of putting money into clean energy.
European Commission is considering a law that would effectively block many coal-fired plants from getting support payments under the region’s capacity market, which is intended to ensure steady supplies of electricity when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.
BEIJING — Coal prices in China may continue to rise during the upcoming heating season, despite the endeavors of regulators to stabilize them, due to strong demand and overcapacity reduction, experts said.
“From now on to the end of the heating season next spring, coal prices will not show a downturn trend, with demand rising continually, if there are no strong measures from regulators to guarantee supply,” said Zhang Likuan, senior analyst at the China Coal Data Exchange Center.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission on Thursday warned coal miners not to temporarily close to avoid inspections as the country’s top economic regulator works to stabilize prices amid environmental and safety checks.
The NDRC also asked coal producers to send more coal to power plants in northeastern China that have low inventories and make an effort to increase coal inventories to a reasonable level.
By Jamison Cocklin
WASHINGTON, DC — Retail electricity rates for U.S. residential customers averaged 12.8 cents/kWh during the first half of this year, or about 3% more than the same period in 2016, an increase that was driven by higher fuel costs for commodities like natural gas, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The cost of natural gas delivered to U.S. electric generators during the first six months of the year was 37% higher than it was during the same time in 2016, averaging $3.53/MMBtu, EIA said in a note on Monday. While the delivered cost of coal was down about 2% during the same time, residential rates were also influenced by power utilities recovering expenditures on transmission and distribution infrastructure.
Energy Business Review
WASHINGTON, DC —The US Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a federal program that will grant nearly $36m of financial assistance to advance carbon capture technologies to either the engineering scale or to a commercial design.
The program announced by US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry will help cost-shared research and development projects working on the development of carbon capture technologies.
Selected projects will be supported under the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE), the Design and Testing of Advanced Carbon Capture Technologies funding opportunity announcement (FOA).
DOE stated that it is exploring transformational, low-cost technology solutions as part of its attempt to bring down energy and capital cost associated with 2nd Generation carbon capture systems. The federal agency hopes that the solutions would enable competitive operation of fossil-based power generation infrastructure in a low-carbon future.
Secretary Perry said: “Carbon capture technologies are one of the most effective ways we can continue to leverage the sustainability of our Nation’s fossil fuel resources while advancing environmental stewardship.
By Tim Pierce
WASHINGTON, DC — Ukraine received its first shipment of anthracite coal from the U.S. Wednesday, part of an $80 billion deal between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
This shipment carried 62,000 tons of the total 700,000 tons set to be delivered to Ukraine by the end of the year, the Financial Times reports.
“As agreed with President Trump, first American coal has reached Ukraine. It is a significant contribution to our energy security and a vivid proof of mutually beneficial strategic cooperation between our two nations,” Poroshenko wrote in a Facebook post. “While it continues to steal Ukrainian coal from Ukrainian Donbas, Russia has lost yet another tool for its energy blackmailing.”
New York (September 19, 2017) – President Trump has announced his picks to fill out the Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors. The slate includes a coal executive and a leader at Oak Ridge National Lab.
The one nominee from Tennessee is Jeff Smith, who gets praise from both of the state’s senators. Smith was deputy director of operations at Oak Ridge. Republicans Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker say they still need to get to know the other nominees.
One of them is Kenny Allen, who has spent a career in the coal industry. He’s from Western Kentucky and most recently was an executive with Armstrong Coal. TVA has continued to move away from coal and has even shutdown old plants, but Allen has been an advocate for the industry in recent years.
Eroding Diversity in U.S. Power Grid Will Mean Greater Price Fluctuations, Higher Bills and Negative Impacts to Economy
New York (September 19, 2017) – The U.S. power grid is on track to lose cost effective power supply diversity, a trend that will raise the cost and variability of power bills and create negative macroeconomic impacts that would ripple out through the broader U.S. economy, a new study by IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO), a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions says.
The new study, titled Ensuring Resilient and Efficient Electricity Generation: The Value of the Current Diverse U.S. Power Supply Portfolio says that current policy-driven market distortions will precipitate a less efficient diversity portfolio where some U.S. power systems could have no meaningful contributions from coal or nuclear resources and a smaller contribution from hydroelectric resources. They will rely on a tripling of the current 7 percent reliance on wind, solar and other intermittent resources, and on natural gas-fired resources to supply the majority of generation.
To illustrate what is at stake if nothing is done to arrest the erosion in the cost-effectiveness, resilience and reliability of the current U.S. power supply mix, the study compares the actual industry performance of recent years (2014 to 2016) with that of a less efficient diversity portfolio case over the same time period.