Clean Coal - The Smart Energy Choice
The high price of electric energy in Alaska limits the state's ability to achieve its economic potential, and in some communities it threatens basic quality of life. In 2009, Alaska's average retail price of electricity was the sixth highest in the nation.
Alaska is gifted with energy resources that are both abundant and diverse. Unfortunately, the state is heavily dependent on expensive oil and gas for the vast majority of its electric generation, while a much more affordable energy source, coal, is utilized for only about 10 percent of our power needs.
Alaska's energy future will not be secure unless we rely on a fuel source for power generation that is abundant, affordable, and environmentally responsible. Coal excels in all three areas, making it a smart energy choice for Alaska's future:
- Alaska has some of the most abundant coal resources in the world. Coal has provided light and warmth for the state's homes and businesses for many decades. There are six coal power plants currently operating, and the state has enough coal to meet current and expected future demand for hundreds of years. Alaska's coal has also been a valuable export commodity, with sales to South Korea, Chile, Japan, and other countries.
- The price of oil and gas has traditionally been volatile, in part because the U.S. is so heavily dependent on imports from foreign countries. But the price of Alaska's coal has remained steady -- and it costs less than half the price of natural gas.
- Thanks to modern technology, new coal power plants have achieved emissions reductions of more than 90 percent. Electric power producers have invested billions of dollars in state-of-the-art equipment that protects clean air and water. Because of that investment, Alaskans do not have to choose between clean power and affordable power -- we can have both at the same time.
Alaska Coal Association, 100 Cushman Street, Suite 210, Fairbanks, AK 99701