Resilience and the Road Ahead

Faced with a much more difficult planning and operating environment, the coal supply chain is responding with the conviction to compete in what has distinctly become our new normal environment. We are still finding our way, but the level of resilience and determination is admirable. Working through difficult circumstances including consolidation, restructuring, and contract and labor negotiations, a path is being created to a more equalized market with stronger players.

This conviction to compete is rooted in our core belief that coal is an important commodity with proven value and benefits. It has been the mainstay of affordable electricity and economic stability in the U.S. It is the energy solution for developing nations to electrify their economies and provide better and healthier living conditions for their citizens – improved cooking methods, medical care, sanitation, lighting, warmth and cooling, and clean water.

From a policy standpoint in the United States, there is a growing recognition that coal will continue to play a key role. Studies continue to highlight the risks of moving the U.S. power plant fleet towards large amounts of natural gas and renewables. Natural gas risks include price and price volatility, and infrastructure and deliverability. Renewables risks include intermittency, low efficiency, outsized land requirements, and threats to plant and animal species. Coal is a critical fuel source to mitigate such risks and maintain electric grid reliability.

The continuation of clean coal technology advancement and deployment is necessary to balance economic and environmental objectives in the future, both domestically and globally. The historical success in reducing emissions in the existing U.S. power sector coal fleet can be leveraged globally. The construction of higher efficiency and lower emissions coal plant technology occurring prominently in places like South and East Asia is a model for deployment elsewhere. The U.S. must redirect its energy policy to an all of the above approach to remove existing regulatory barriers and actively support coal plant technology development. This will not only drive continued emissions improvements, it will preserve diversity and fuel choice in power sector and industrial plants.

The resilient American coal industry will continue to contribute to the economy and well-being of our nation. As the American Coal Council approaches 35 years of service to the industry, there are pages to turn and new chapters to be written. Your engagement with ACC enhances our efforts to strengthen the collective voice of coal in representing our industry’s essential energy role.