WASHINGTON, DC -
The initial competitive stage of President Bush's $2 billion, 10-year
clean coal technology initiative officially begins today with the Department
of Energy's release of a solicitation offering between $300 to $400 million
in federal matching funds for industry-proposed projects.
Earlier this year, President Bush traveled to West Virginia to talk about
the importance of clean coal. "In order to become less dependent
on foreign sources of energy, we've got to find and produce more energy
at home, including coal," said President Bush. "I believe that
we can have coal production and enhanced technologies in order to make
sure the coal burns cleaner. I believe we can have both."
"This solicitation signals our willingness to begin a new partnership
with the private sector to enhance our energy supply," Secretary
of Energy Spencer Abraham said. "Technologies like this will help
us preserve our environment while we strengthen America's energy security."
Clean coal technologies represent a new class of pollution control and
power generating processes that reduce air emissions and, in many cases,
lower greenhouse gases to a fraction of the levels of older, conventional
Some clean coal technologies offer the potential for giving even high-sulfur
"dirty" coals many of the same environmental qualities of natural
gas. Others also greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by boosting power
plant efficiencies and releasing carbon gases in a form that can be more
easily captured and prevented from entering the atmosphere.
"America cannot afford to turn its back on the 250-year supply of
secure, low-cost energy represented by the massive coal reserves that
lie within our national borders," said Abraham. "Yet, it has
been nearly a decade since the federal government joined with the private
sector to move promising new concepts to the point where industry can
decide if they merit commercial deployment. Today's solicitation tells
industry we are ready to help share the costs and risks of new technologies
that have emerged in the last 10 years but without our support, would
likely remain in the laboratory."
Industry has until August 1, 2002, to submit proposals, and winning projects
will be selected by early January 2003.
The Energy Department is asking for projects that demonstrate or accelerate
the commercial deployment of any technology advancement that "results
in efficiency, environmental and economic improvement compared to currently
available state-of-the-art alternatives."
Among the technologies expected to be proposed are innovative concepts
for reducing mercury, smog-causing nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and
small particulate matter from existing and future power plants. New technologies
that improve power plant control systems and permit plants to run more
efficiently and reliably could also be proposed.
Technologies that permit better management and control of carbon emissions
are being strongly encouraged. Roughly one third of the United States'
carbon emissions come from power plants, and recently, as part of his
National Climate Change Policy, President Bush placed a high priority
on encouraging new technologies that can reduce these emissions while,
at the same time, keeping energy costs affordable.
The competition is also open to new combustion or other technologies
that produce combinations of heat, fuels, chemicals or other useful byproducts
in conjunction with power generation. The Department will also accept
projects that mix coal with other fuels, with only the provision that
coal must represent at least 75 percent of the fuel energy input. The
Department is also looking for advanced concepts for converting coal into
a combustible gas that can be cleaned to extreme levels of purity.
Prospective projects must also show the potential to move rapidly into
the market following the successful demonstration.
For each project
selected by the Energy Department, industrial sponsors must be willing
to at least match the federal funding share. There will also be a requirement
that repayment from commercially successful technologies be used to underwrite
future clean coal research.