Coal Leadership Advancement Seminar Series
The first Coal Leadership Advancement Seminar Series (CLASS) program was a success!! Thank you to everyone who joined us on June 26-28 at the The Magnolia Hotel in Downtown Denver Colorado.
CLASS attendees enjoyed a diverse slate of presentations from industry experts who provided in depth instruction on the current state of our industry, as well as what we can expect in the future.
CLASS attendees came away from the program with a very real sense of the challenges facing our industry. An on-the-ground tour of Xcel’s Cherokee Plant hit home the reality that new regulations are the primary reason that up to 70GW of our nation’s coal-fueled fleet is being shuttered. While Xcel showed how they remain committed to providing affordable and reliable coal-fueled energy, they also demonstrated how Colorado’s “Clean Air Clean Jobs” legilsation forced the closure of two coal-fueled units and the conversion of a third unit to natural gas at the Cherokee plant. CLASS, attendees also learned how the EPA’s war on coal – in the form of proposed GHG regulations – is making it essentially impossible to replace retiring coal units with new, more efficient coal technologies.
Attendees were presented with the fact that coal is being assaulted on multiple fronts: air, water, mines, and coal ash. We also learned of the massive direct infusions of tax dollars, as well as many other forms of subsidies, for renewable energy to prop up the notion that they are price competitive with coal.
As the war on coal continues, we also were shown unnerving forecasts of electrical shortages around the country, and increased electricity prices. As millions of people in Eastern states endure prolonged blackouts, intense heat, and mounting death tolls, we begin to get the earliest glimpses of what life with limited access to expensive electricity would be like.
CLASS participants also heard how many Internet behemoths – Google, Facebook, and Apple – are choosing to locate their new data centers in areas that rely heavily on the low cost and reliability of coal-fueled electricity. Their growing energy demand makes their choices seem obvious. We questioned what impacts the war on coal would have for our national reliance on the Internet and web technologies.
Speakers described various other topics, including:
- An introduction to energy and commodities trading
- Discussions on how fuel flexibility strategies can maintain our existing coal fleet at peak performance.
- The potential for enhanced oil recovery to turn CO2 into a valuable commodity, as opposed to a perceived pollutant
- The possible expansion of west coast port capacity
- The reality that it isn’t just coal that the extreme green industry is targeting, as they have now taken up the same type of “anti” campaigns against natural gas
Looking to a more positive side, CLASS attendees were able to see the bright potential of increased exports of U.S. coal. Several speakers discussed the “global supercycle” that the coal industry is enjoying, with predictions of substantial growth in demand for coal worldwide. One speaker humorously suggested that “everybody in the world wants American coal, except for America” While it is true that the world is increasingly interested in taking part in the natural bounty and reliability of America’s coal resource, other speakers questioned whether November’s election might change the notion that the U.S. doesn’t want to use its own coal.
We rounded up the meeting with a direct challenge from ACC Communications Director, Jason Hayes. He urged CLASS attendees to take an active role in defending our industry. He noted that misinformation on coal is rampant and much of the media unquestioningly accepts the lies and myths perpetrated by the extreme green industry and the EPA. Attendees discussed how their lives and jobs were being threatened and heard how they needed to get involved in spreading balanced and factual information to those with open minds and a reasonable outlook.
In her closing thoughts, ACC CEO, Janet Gellici quoted James R. Schlesinger who noted that in terms of our national approach to energy, “We have only two modes – complacency and panic.” As we rush headlong into massive price increases, system wide instability, declining capacity, and increased reliance on expensive, unreliable and potentially volatile energy resources, “panic” appears very near on our energy horizon. It’s up to the coal industry to restore some sanity to the mix as we push to bring back our national reliance on affordable, reliable, secure, increasingly clean, domestic energy resources.
The ACC’s Coal Leadership Advancement Seminar Series (CLASS) is an educational initiative designed to fill the educational gap between new hires and senior executives. CLASS is a program for mid-career coal industry executives, addressing their interest in:
- Advancing professional career objectives.
- Building and enhancing long-term relationships with industry colleagues.
- Obtaining timely, in-depth and analytical industry knowledge and resources
- Learning about the operations of and inter-relationship between various sectors of the coal industry ~ coal supply, coal consumption and coal transportation.
The annual seminar brings together coal suppliers and marketers, utility and industrial coal consumers, rail/barge/port transportation management, and coal support service providers. It provides a series of in-depth training seminar sessions on technical, legal, financial and business administration subjects, as well as timely updates on critical marketplace and public policy issues.
Watch ACCEVENTS.ORG for information on next year’s CLASS program.