Energies combine

CONSOL Energy and FirstEnergy have joined forces to evaluate advanced clean coal technologies - including Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) and combustion of waste coal - in an effort to meet future baseload power generation needs while reducing greenhouse emissions.

Angie Tomlinson

The Task Force will evaluate the commercial feasibility of various advanced technologies using coal to generate electricity that may be pursued by the two companies or in partnership with government.

CEO Brett Harvey said Consol holds substantial coal reserves in the east, and FirstEnergy had the ability to convert that coal into electricity. "Our separate strengths create a common bond and the leverage to make such projects a reality," he said.

"As electricity consumption in our region has grown, we have not seen a corresponding increase in baseload generation," said First Energy CEO Anthony Alexander. "In fact, it's been more than a decade since a new baseload power plant was built in Ohio."

"Any meaningful effort to expand baseload generation in Ohio and Pennsylvania should recognize the central role of our region's most abundant energy resource, coal - and specifically, the need to use this resource in an environmentally responsible manner. The work of our joint task force is an important part of this effort, and is designed to provide us with key information that will help us meet the future energy needs of our customers," Alexander said.

Harvey said he believed coal-producing states would be supportive of advanced technology projects, particularly those that use coal waste from abandoned sites as a fuel to generate electricity.

Although no timetable has been formally established, the two companies hope to identify technologies and projects that could begin development over the next five years, based on an evaluation of electricity markets and future utility regulation.

Consol provides more than seven million tons of coal per year to FirstEnergy power plants in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

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