Coal’s liabilities to be a focus of RENEW’s Energy Policy Summit, Jan. 13, Madison

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

For immediate release:
January 4, 2012

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RENEW Wisconsin
Michael Vickerman

Coal’s Liabilities to be a Focus of RENEW’s Energy Policy Summit

Long-considered an inexpensive and reliable fuel source, coal is rapidly becoming the Achilles’ heel of the national electric energy picture, according to Leslie Glustrom, Research Director for Clean Energy Action in Boulder, Colorado. Glustrom will be the featured speaker at the RENEW Energy Policy Summit on January 13, 2012, in Madison.

Clean Energy Action is spearheading a campaign to shut down Colorado’s coal-fired power plants and replace them with locally generated renewable electricity.

In a recent report, Glustrom wrote, “It appears that rather than having a ‘200 year supply of coal,’ the United States has a much shorter planning horizon for moving beyond coal-fired power plants. Depending on the resolution of geologic, economic, legal and transportation constraints facing future coal mine expansion, the planning horizon for moving beyond coal could be as short as 20-30 years.” (1)

“The expectation of less plentiful coal supplies and continued increases in coal prices reinforces the value of expanding our use of energy resources that we have in this state,” said Michael Vickerman, Executive Director of RENEW Wisconsin, a statewide, nonprofit renewable energy advocacy organization.

“People from businesses and households will meet at the RENEW Energy Summit, January 13, to forge an action plan for a renewable energy future that moves us away fuels with serious and well-documented liabilities,” said Vickerman.

The delivered price of coal for Wisconsin generation plants has increased by 17% over the last twelve months of available data, according to Vickerman. (2)

“This upward trajectory will continue this year when current supply contracts expired on December 31. The newer contracts that take effect January 1 of this year are certain to be more costly,” said Vickerman.

A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that coal consumption fell 2 percent this year and is likely to decline by an even larger 4 percent in 2012. Many observers predict that between 10 and 20 percent of coal-fired power in the United States will be shut down by 2016. (3)

More information on RENEW’s Energy Policy Summit can be found on the RENEW Wisconsin website:

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RENEW Wisconsin is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that acts as a catalyst to advance a sustainable energy future through public policy and private sector initiatives. More information on RENEW’s Web site at

References and links

1. Coal: Cheap and Abundant…Or Is It? Why Americans Should Stop Assuming That The U.S. Has a 200-Year Supply of Coal by Leslie Glustrom

2. Energy Information Agency, Electric Power Monthly, Dec. 16, 2011, Table 4.10.A

3. The Coal Age Nears Its End, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 23, 2011