MORGANTOWN, WV — A U.S. Department of Energy Assistant Secretary told West Virginia news reporters that development of advanced coal technology at the National Energy Technology Laboratory is a keystone of the Advanced Energy Initiative outlined in the President's State of the Union remarks.
"Advanced technology and coal can deliver new increments of electric power to our Nation in the near- and mid-term in the volumes we will require it, at the times we will need it, on the terms we want it ? abundant, always available, low cost and clean," Jeffrey Jarrett, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy said. "They can ignite the transformation the President seeks in the way we power our homes and offices.
"As the President said as recently as Monday," he went on," 'Coal is by far our country's most abundant and affordable energy resource? [We must find ways] to use this abundant resource and, at the same time, protect our environment.'"
Coal's potential is why the President pledged a total of $2 billion to developing advanced technologies for coal use that culminate in the FutureGen Project improved pollution control and mercury removal, to raising generation efficiencies and other improvements in the President's Clean Coal Power Initiative that generate electricity while meeting environmental regulations at low cost.
Jarrett noted that projections of the Energy Information Administration indicate the United States will rely on coal to deliver about 70 percent of the growth in electric power supply over the next 25 years with additions coming from existing plants and new generating capacity. The projections see an increase in demand of almost 2,000 billion kilowatt hours, or 50 percent, of which 1,400 billion kilowatt hours will come form coal-based generation.
NETL's advanced coal-technology programs are primarily oriented toward improving better pollution control for existing plants, higher efficiencies in existing and future plants,
The Assistant Secretary said NETL's advanced coal technology programs will contribute strongly to meeting the President's goals for the Advanced Energy Initiative in two ways. They will initiate the sought-after transformation of the way Americans power their homes and offices; and they will provide fundamental support for the other goal of transforming the way we power our automobiles and trucks by serving as an early source of hydrogen.
The $950 million FutureGen Project to build the world's first zero-emissions prototype power plant will sustain the transformation. It is underway today based on NETL-developed technologies geared toward developing an emissions-free coal plant that captures the carbon dioxide it produces and stores it in deep geologic formations.
Carbon-dioxide sequestration and geologic sequestration will mean an eventual end to greenhouse gas emissions from coal-based electric generation; hydrogen rich liquid fuels from coal could help reduce dependence on oil imports; and the commercial separation of hydrogen from coal could mean the beginning of the end for greenhouse gas emissions in transportation, one of their largest sources.
In his State of the Union Address, President Bush announced two key, energy-related initiatives. President Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative seeks to develop new technologies and alternative sources of energy to help diversify and strengthen our nation's energy mix. The American Competitiveness Initiative is a multi-agency commitment to ensure that America remains competitive in the global marketplace. Its $5.9 billion investment in Fiscal Year 2007 puts America's science budget on the path to doubling over the next ten years. Funding would increase investments in research and development, strengthen education in math and science, and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation.
As part of the Bush Administration's broader effort to promote production and use of alternative and renewable sources of energy, Administration officials are traveling the country to promote President Bush's energy initiatives.