A move to favor natural gas over coal to aid European allies has drawn fire from the West Virginia Coal Association.
Association president Chris Hamilton called the natural gas industry-led Partnership to Address Global Emissions (PAGE) plan “irresponsible.”
“Our European allies are struggling to acquire the fuel they will need for consumer home heating and industrial purposes,” he said. “They need all the means necessary – coal, gas and intermittent sources – to power their economies for the foreseeable future. Calling for coal eradication is nothing more than a political hook on their part to encourage the development of gas pipelines in America.
The group of natural gas generation and transmission companies, led by EQT, TC Energy and Williams Company, launched PAGE with the goal of “replacing foreign coal with a reliable and affordable supply of cleaner U.S. natural gas,” said said Hamilton.
“The United States has the ability to develop both coal and gas for domestic and international use and Americans should not tolerate one industry working to replace the other,” he said. “Frankly, unlike natural gas, the infrastructure to mine, transport and ship the coal is already in place. The world needs America’s high-quality thermal and metallurgical coals for power generation and steelmaking. The European Union is working to replace more than 45 m/tonnes of Russian coal and American coal is tailor-made for Europe’s power generation facilities and coke ovens. »
Hamilton said recent world events demonstrate that “coal is the only basic power generation fuel that can withstand acts of terrorism and provide reliable, 24-hour power and enhanced national security.”
The West Virginia Coal Association supports a “comprehensive energy strategy,” he said, but believes the United States should not trade one energy job for another or unnecessarily shorten the life of these fundamental contributors to our economy and our industrial employment base. .
A recent study by West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economics Research found that the country’s coal industry accounts for 371,000 well-paying jobs in the heartland of the United States and contributes $261 billion to the national economy. .
According to an article in Berkshire Hathaway’s Businesswire, PAGE “will advocate for policies that enable the development of the infrastructure needed to increase production and export of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) to displace foreign coal and reduce emissions.” greenhouse gases (GHGs).
“If the United States harnesses the full potential of LNG to replace international coal, the emissions reductions would be equivalent to electrifying every American vehicle, powering every American home with rooftop solar, and doubling wind capacity. American Combined,” Toby Z. Rice, CEO of EQT Corporation and one of the founding members of PAGE, said in the Businesswire article. “All we need is the green light to build the infrastructure that will allow us to move natural gas from where it is produced to where it can be used.”
Over the past 15 years, the United States has led the world in reducing GHG emissions, largely due to the transition from coal-fired electricity generation to natural gas, which generates significantly less CO2 emissions, depending on the article. Meanwhile, more than 200 US coal plants have shut down. This year, however, foreign demand for coal is on the rise, exacerbated by soaring energy prices and Russia’s war on Ukraine. In 2022, coal consumption is expected to reach its record level, reached in 2013.
According to the EIA (US Energy Information Administration), natural gas was used to produce 38.3% of the country’s electricity in 2021, with coal at 21.8%. Nuclear produced 18.9% of the energy, with renewables (wind, hydro, solar, biomass and geothermal) producing 20.1% of the market.
West Virginia is a net supplier of energy to other states and provides about 5% of the nation’s total energy, nearly half of which comes from coal generation, the EIA reports. However, due to increased production of natural gas and natural gas liquids from the Marcellus and Utica shales in northern West Virginia, natural gas surpassed coal for the first time in 2019. and became the main contributor to the state’s energy economy.
Production from the Marcellus and Utica-Point Pleasant shale formations contributed to the state’s rank as the nation’s fifth-largest producer of marketed natural gas in 2020.
Two new pipelines to carry natural gas from these formations were planned, but Dominion Energy shut down the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACC) project last year, citing ongoing legal issues.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), which is more than 90% complete, remains on hold due to litigation involving federal permits.
Both W.Va. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito are pushing for reform of the federal environmental permitting process to streamline permitting as well as expedite the resolution of any resulting court cases.
One of MVP’s goals, they said, is to help supply LGN for the overseas market.
“Completion of MVP, which is 94% complete, will allow the United States to unlock our abundant supply of clean American energy by unlocking 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, lowering prices at home and in to bridge our allies around the world currently relies on Vladimir Putin and other dictators,” Manchin said recently.
— Contact Charles Boothe at [email protected]