Quotable enegy quotes

“Even though we are in the foothills of coal country, it was not outrageous for us to look at energy efficiency and renewable energy as one of the pathways to helping this community transform.”

– Bobby Clark of Midwest Clean Energy Enterprise.Clark, on efforts to rebuild West Liberty, Kentucky with a master plan based on green buildings and renewable energy after much of it was destroyed by a tornado in 2012.

Image: KY Court of Justice via flickr creative commons license.

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“We have got a big appetite for wind or solar. If someone walks in with a solar project tomorrow and it takes a billion dollars or three billion dollars, we’re ready to do it. The more there is the better.”

– Warren Buffett, speaking to investors at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholders meeting.

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“When are we ever going to be economically free, not serfs to the coal industry, unless there is economic diversity?”

– Filmmaker Mari-Lynn Evans, whose documentary “Blood on the Mountain” explores the troubled history of West Virginia’s coal industry, as quoted in a story about the state’s efforts to revitalize its economy independent of coal.

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“Market prices were kept low and highly competitive by improved hydro-electric conditions, moderate loads and the addition of about 2,300 megawatts of summer capacity — consisting mostly of solar generation.”

– From a market report by California’s grid operator showing that wholesale power prices fell 9 percent in 2016, spurred by a decline in natural gas prices, improved hydropower conditions and about 1,900 megawatts of new peak summer generating capacity from solar resources,

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“If you are tied to coal, you’ve got problems.”

– Warren Buffett, speaking to shareholders at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.

Image: Fortune Live Media via flickr Creative Commons

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 “The future for coal in the United States? There is no future.”

– Former Duke Energy CEO and Chairman Jim Rogers, speaking at the release of a new report calling coal’s decline one of the most “spectacular market collapses in equity history.” The combined market value of the four largest U.S. coal companies fell from $33 billion to $150 million in five short years.

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“Responsible policymakers should be honest about what’s going on in the U.S. coal sector – including the causes of coal’s decline and unlikeliness of its resurgence – rather than offer false hope that the glory days can be revived.”

– From an analysis examining the prospects for a recovery of U.S. coal production and employment, which concludes that President Trump’s efforts to roll back environmental regulations are unlikely to materially improve economic conditions in America’s coal communities.

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“At the end of the day, West Virginia may not require us to be clean, but our customers are. So if we want to bring in those jobs – and those are good jobs, those are good-paying jobs … we have to be mindful of what our customers want.”

– Chris Beam, the new president of Appalachian Power, on historic changes in the electric power industry and why his company is not planning to build any more coal-burning power plants, choosing instead to emphasize cleaner sources of power.

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“Our statutory duty is to produce electricity at the lowest feasible rate. … We weren’t trying to comply with the Clean Power Plan or anything else. What’s the cheapest way to serve the customer? It turned out to be retiring those coal plants.”

– Tennessee Valley Authority CEO Bill Johnson on how little Donald Trump’s pro-coal policies are likely to affect his utility’s plans. TVA is on track to retire five of its original 11 coal-fired power plants by the end of 2018.

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“Market forces are driving a rapid evolution of energy resources, and the current data clearly supports the replacement of the coal in our portfolio with an energy mix that includes more renewables and natural gas as the best, most economical path to a strong energy future for New Mexico.”

– Public Service of New Mexico President and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn in a statement regarding the utility’s integrated resource plan, which calls for completely shutting down one of its two biggest coal-fired power plants by 2022 and exiting from coal completely by 2031.

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“If you’d told me I’d be working in solar, I would’ve never believed you. I always thought I’d bounce from coal job to coal job until all the mines closed and I had to leave.”

– Former West Virginia coal miner Robert Atkins, who was retrained as a solar technician after being laid off from his coal job and now works as a crew chief overseeing installations for startup developer Solar Holler.

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“In 10 years, a rooftop that doesn’t have solar will look funny and will look out of place.”

– Mike Foley, head of the Department of Sustainability for Cuyahoga County, Ohio, reacting to an analysis showing that solar industry jobs doubled in the Cleveland area from 2015 to 2016.

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“[T]he world is moving beyond coal, just as we moved past horses and buggies, landline telephones and cigarettes.”

– From commentary by Danny Kennedy pointing out the huge inconsistencies between President Trump’s energy policies and the direction of energy markets.

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“People realize that coal isn’t going to be around here forever and people need to re-tool themselves and get occupations within newer industries.”

– Lee Van Horn, the son of a coal mine worker, who is manager of the 64-turbine Locust Ridge Wind Power Project in central Pennsylvania.

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“Page [Arizona] is ready for a change. … We really have the ability here to capitalize on how beautiful the area is, and the only black eye on this beauty for a long, long time has been that power plant.”

– Twist Thompson, the owner of three restaurants in Page, in reaction to news that owners of the Navajo Generating Station, the largest coal-burning power plant in the West, plan to shut down the plant no later than 2019.

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New wind turbines are “the most cost-effective way to meet our anticipated energy needs of our own customers.”

– PacifiCorp spokesman Bob Gravely on his company’s plans to spend $3.5 billion on 2,000 megawatts of new and upgraded wind turbines, mostly in Wyoming, over the next 20 years.

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“If [NGS] were to shut down tomorrow, we wouldn’t have any problem keeping our costs fairly low in this market.”

– Ron Lunt, director of operations for the Central Arizona Project, on how a surplus of natural gas generation and a deluge of California solar have thrown the Southwest’s power market into flux, including the announced closure of coal-fired Navajo Generating Station. CAP anticipates annual savings of $38.5 million by getting power from cheaper sources than NGS.

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“I think we need to look at something a little bit different [than coal].”

– Beattyville, Kentucky Mayor John Smith, a staunch Republican and Donald Trump supporter, voicing his doubts about the return of coal to the region, despite promises by the president.

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“Wind energy is a renewable, more cost-effective resource that will lower the carbon footprint of these [7-Eleven] stores as well as operating costs.”

– Ben Tison, 7-Eleven’s senior vice president of development, on an agreement that will see 425 of the company’s stores in Texas get 100 percent of their electricity from Texas wind farms.

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“Wind power economics are driving coal generation up the dispatch curve and into earlier retirement.”

– Moody’s analyst Jairo Chung in an investment note on the effects of low-cost wind in the Great Plains states, where an average contract price of around $20 per megawatt-hour is outcompeting operating costs for coal-fired power that average higher than $30/MWh.

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“No one’s looking for new coal reserves. The decline in coal demand has meant existing reserves will last a lot longer.’’

– Robert Godby, a professor of energy economics at the University of Wyoming, commenting on how the Trump administration’s rollback of a moratorium on federal coal leases may actually do little to help the coal industry recover.

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“Politics has nothing to do with it for me. Clean energy just makes good economic sense. By establishing a 100 percent renewable energy goal, we have an opportunity to use solar power that we can control in our community, for our community.”

– Abita Springs, Louisiana Mayor Greg Lemons in a statement on the town council approving a resolution to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, the first municipality in the state to do so.

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“We’re doing it primarily because it’s the cheapest energy resource we can buy now, even lower than our coal generation.”

– Xcel Energy spokesman Wes Reeves, explaining the utility’s decision to invest $1.6 billion to build two large wind farms in eastern New Mexico and West Texas over the next three years, which will lower costs and save customers in those states about $2.8 billion over the next three decades.

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“This would save us money, and that will eventually hit our ratepayers’ pocketbooks in a good way.”

– Hannibal, Missouri public works manager Robert Stevenson on the city’s approval of a contract to meet up to 20 percent of its annual electricity needs with wind energy, saving the city $720,000 a year in energy costs. The deal is predicated on the completion of the Grain Belt transmission line, which would carry wind from Kansas eastward.

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“My client, Talen Montana, is losing about $30 million a year — that’s an average. We’re trying to find every possible tool to change the economics and continue to operate for five years.”

– Lobbyist Jon Metropoulos on the dire economics sinking the operator of the Colstrip coal-burning power plant in Montana, and legislative efforts to provide assistance to keep it open longer.

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“It sounds really bold to say, but what we’re trying to do is to rebuild the Appalachian economy from the ground up. … We don’t get into the moral argument of coal being good or bad, we just talk about jobs and entrepreneurship.”

– Brandon Dennison, co-founder and CEO of Coalfield Development Corp, a nonprofit that offers out-of-work coal miners a chance to learn new skills, including solar installation.

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The “comparative economics for coal, renewables and gas place clean coal firmly at the bottom of the stack in the U.S.”

– From a series of Citigroup reports to investors earlier this year in which the bank said it expects coal plant retirements of about 5 gigawatts in 2017 – enough to power roughly 3.4 million homes for a year.

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“With these blessings, Oklahoma can power Oklahoma and doesn’t need to go to Wyoming, hat in hand, asking to buy some energy. We’re pleased to see these in-state resources growing to affordably and cleanly serve the power needs of this state.”

– Jeff Clark, executive director of The Wind Coalition, in a NewsOK story about wind generation edging out imported Wyoming coal as a source of electricity in the state for the first time last year.

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“You will not be forgotten. The sacrifice and the danger, the songs and the tradition. They won’t be lost. You really did keep the lights on. We love you for it. But the jobs, and the future of coal mining, are a vanishing thing. Please, for your own sake and that of your nation, do the hardest thing ever—anything else.”

– from An open letter to America’s coal miners, and to America by former coal miner and mining executive Mark Sumner

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“There were nearly 700,000 [coal] miners … in 1919. There were 450,000 when World War II began. There were fewer than 200,000 when Eisenhower took office. By 2000, that number was down to about 70,000. And it keeps falling. Coal will never again be the industry your fathers knew, or that you knew in your youth.”

– from An open letter to America’s coal miners, and to America by former coal miner and mining executive Mark Sumner

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