Energy Exchange

Energy storage, wind, and solar companies are recruiting coal miners for their work ethics and high-tech skills

When a California battery company officially moved its headquarters and manufacturing to Kentucky coal country last week, generous state tax subsidies certainly played a role – but so did something often lost in the debate about coal.

Struggling coal mining towns offer an abundance of highly trained workers, many of whom are eager for new opportunities and stable jobs. Mine work today requires mechanical and technical skills that are transferable to new industries, a fact that companies inside and outside the energy sector are beginning to discover in America’s tightening labor market. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Storage, Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Wyoming / Read 2 Responses

New Jersey’s leaders pave the way for a clean energy future

New Jersey’s legislature voted on two important bills last week related to the state’s energy future. One will boost clean energy like renewables and energy efficiency, create jobs, and cut pollution. The other subsidizes two nuclear plants indefinitely. Both bills passed. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) enthusiastically supported the clean energy bill, but withheld our support for the nuclear bailout.

New Jersey deserves a clean, healthy, and prosperous future, and we need a plan to make it happen. The clean energy bill is such a plan. The details may be complex, but the result is simple: It prepares the state for the inevitable retirement of nuclear plants by accelerating the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency. The nuclear bailout is flawed and wasteful. It should have been fixed. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Equity, New Jersey, Solar Energy / Read 2 Responses

Coal workers deserve opportunity and support, not false promises about reviving their industry

Coal mining is tough and dangerous work. In the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter, country star Loretta Lynn’s husband Doolittle sums it up this way, “There ain't nothin' in Kentucky for me except a chest full of coal dust and being an old man before I'm forty.”

Nearly 40 years later, coal mining is still dangerous, and we know a lot more about its disastrous health effects. On top of these risks, workers have seen decades of job cuts as coal companies automate the mining process and coal-fired electricity is being squeezed by cleaner and cheaper energy sources like natural gas, wind and solar.

Rather than seek genuine solutions that would help current and former coal workers, President Trump campaigned on reviving coal jobs and seems hell-bent on propping up the uneconomic coal industry, no matter the cost. We – and President Trump – owe coal workers more than empty political promises. We owe them an opportunity to succeed in this shifting economy. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Energy Innovation, Grid Modernization / Comments are closed

Here's why putting more tax dollars behind coal is such a wasteful proposition

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice just pitched a coal boondoggle to President Donald Trump. And boy oh boy, it’s a doozy.

Justice, who made news recently for announcing at a Trump rally that he was switching from the Democratic to the Republican party, is a billionaire climate denier who owns a host of companies, including a golf course and casino and who put his children in charge of his empire while he is governor. Sound familiar?

He also owns several coal mines and was delinquent on $2 million in mine safety violations until a 2014 story by National Public Radio prompted him to start paying his fines.

So let’s have a closer look at the governor’s pitch. Turns out, it’s a really lousy deal for American taxpayers and coal workers alike – while doing nothing for energy security. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Grid Modernization, Jobs / Comments are closed

Waiting for Perry: Leaked draft gives us a glimpse into the study he should release

It’s been 100 days (and counting) since Secretary Perry ordered the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct a 60-day study of the U.S. electricity system. We expect the final report to be issued any day now.

The initial focus of the study was clear: to determine whether renewable energy policies or regulations have accelerated the retirement of coal and nuclear plants. Perry himself admitted the so-called study was intended to reassess “politically driven policies driven by a hostility to coal,” implying he intends to use the study to discriminate against renewables in favor of dirty, expensive coal.

But a bombshell recently hit. A leaked draft of the study seems to contradict Secretary Perry’s pro-coal thesis and rhetoric.

The draft is thoughtful, and it boils down to some conclusions that Secretary Perry’s political appointees – ahem, editors – will be hard pressed to massage into policy recommendations that call for more coal. Namely, America’s grid reliability remains strong with more clean energy and less coal. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Grid Modernization, Renewable Energy / Comments are closed

Rick Perry just got scooped: New report shows cleaner grid provides reliable power

As Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry set out to examine the impact of policies or regulations on coal and nuclear plants.

He wasn’t the only one. A new report from the Analysis Group, commissioned by national business groups Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) and American Wind Energy Association, finds market forces are pushing old coal and nuclear plants to retire, without posing any threat to the electric grid’s reliability. In other words, coal can’t compete in today’s market, and the United States is getting a cleaner, more diverse, and reliable energy mix as a result.

Market forces

The American energy system is undergoing a transformation, with more – and cleaner – power options than ever before.

The primary driver of change? Market forces. In efficient and competitive markets, it’s natural for uneconomic assets (cough, coal) to be pushed out. Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy / Tagged | Read 1 Response