PITTSBURGH, September 1, 2004 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) — CONSOL Energy Inc. and FirstEnergy Corp. have formed a joint task force to evaluate advanced clean coal technologies, including Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC), combustion of waste coal, and other technologies that can potentially meet future baseload power generation needs while reducing the overall environmental impact of generating electricity from coal.
The Task Force, which will be comprised of engineering and business developments staffs of the two companies, 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 various government entities.
“The industrial heartland of the United States contains vast resources of coal that could be tapped to generate abundant electricity at affordable prices,” said J. Brett Harvey, president and chief executive officer of CONSOL Energy. “These advanced technologies will ensure that the conversion of coal to electricity is done in a manner consistent with the environmental objectives all Americans share.”
Harvey pointed out that CONSOL Energy holds substantial coal reserves in the east, and FirstEnergy has 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 Anthony J. Alexander, president and chief executive officer of FirstEnergy. “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 added.
Harvey said he believes that coal-producing states would be very supportive of advanced technology projects, particularly those that use coal waste from abandoned sites as a fuel to generate electricity. “Based on my conversations with state leaders, I am convinced that viable projects that can convert coal wastes into electricity while reclaiming the old coal disposal sites at the same time would receive enthusiastic support.”
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 Energy provides more than 7 million tons of coal per year to FirstEnergy power plants in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
CONSOL Energy has 19 bituminous coal mining complexes in seven states. In addition, the company is one of the largest U.S. producers of coalbed methane with daily gas production of approximately 150 million cubic feet from wells in Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The company also has joint ventures that produce natural gas in Virginia and Tennessee, and the company produces electricity from coalbed methane at a joint-venture generating facility in Virginia. CONSOL Energy Inc. has annual revenues of $2.2 billion. It received the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining National Award for Excellence in Surface Mining for the company’s innovative reclamation practices in 2002 and 2003. In 2002, the company received a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Climate Protection Award. Additional information about the company can be found at its web site: www.consolenergy.com
FirstEnergy is a registered public utility holding company headquartered in Akron, Ohio. Its utility operating companies comprise the nation’s fifth largest electric system, and its other subsidiaries and affiliates are involved in the generation and transmission of electricity; marketing of natural gas; and energy management and other energy-related services.