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Peabody Plan

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This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.

The Peabody Plan is a pro-coal lobbying agenda promoted by Peabody Energy, one of the world's largest coal mining company. The Plan was announced by the company's CEO Greg Boyce in September 2010.[1][2]

Boyce's comments at the launch

Launching his company's pro-coal plan, Boyce stated that "the greatest crisis we confront in the 21st Century is not an environmental crisis predicted by computer models… but a human crisis fully within our power to solve. For too long, too many have been focused on the wrong end game. For every person or agency who has voiced a 2050 greenhouse gas goal… we need 10 people and policy bodies working toward the goal of broad energy access to reduce global poverty."[3]

Boyce stated that "we as a world need to reset our priorities" to "eliminating energy poverty MUST be job one" with the goal as "electricity access for all by 2050."[3]

"We also must advance all energy forms for long-term access. Coal is the only baseload fuel with the scale, abundance, reliability and cost profile to make this goal a reality" and that "using more coal… more cleanly… requires deployment of advanced coal technologies on a path to near-zero emissions."[3]

"I am amazed by the number of goals that are carved out around reducing carbon, but with no mention of universal energy access. The goal is clear: Global energy access by 2050. This is a greater priority with a far greater return for humanity." he said.[3]

Citing China as an example of wherecoal-fired electrcity generation had increased by 475% since 1990 while GDP has risen 375%, Boyce stated "so electricity is life. Electricity is economic growth. And coal is electricity. Coal is the only sustainable fuel with the muscle to shoulder the primary energy needs of the world’s rising populations and economies."[3]

"The world has trillions of tons of coal, which make up 60 percent of our global energy resources… And we…will… use… them… all. Reserves are large and diverse, spanning nations on every major continent," he said.[3]

"No other energy resource comes close to the power of coal. Replacing coal with alternatives is unrealistic: It would take: 1,800 times more solar than we have today… and yet to-be invented storage technology for when the sun doesn’t shine; 2.5 million wind turbines… and constant wind; 1,150 nuclear plants; 70 tcf… three times the production of Russia; or 2,250 large hydro plants. All of these sources are important, yet they cannot come close to matching the scale of coal. One example: Peabody alone has seven coal mines that each power more electricity than the U.S. solar and wind industries combined."[3]

"A major new build out of coal generation is under way globally. Global coal fueled generation will nearly double by 2035. China, India, and the rest of Asia make up more than 85% of the major global build out of new generation. If you project this growth out, you can see global demand growing by more than 1 billion tonnes every three years," he said.[3]

The key elements of the Plan, Boyce stated were:[3]

  • "build advanced coal plants – supercritical and ultrasupercritical";
  • "demonstrate carbon capture and storage";
  • "retrofit supercritical coal plants with CCS technologies to improve CO2 further";

Lobbying the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners

In a keynote presentation to the July 2011 annual meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, Peabody Energy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gregory Boyce used the Peabody Plan to argue that what was needed in the US is a "pro-people, pro-business economy" and that it wanted "at least half of new generation comes from advanced coal plants".[4]

While calling for a "a balanced portfolio of fuels", Boyce told those at the conference that what was needed was a "create a pro-electricity regulatory environment that keeps energy affordable for job creation and economic growth." He also argued that gas and renewables should be relegated to a support role for coal and nuclear. Boyce argued that what was needed was to "encourage new coal and nuclear units for baseload electricity and use gas and renewables for variable power" and that commissioners should "advocate for continual upgrades of the existing fleet."[4]

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