WASHINGTON, DC -- President Bush signed a congressional appropriations bill on November 10, 2003, that increases funding for several critical coal technologies, helping insure coal and clean coal technology remain a cornerstone of U.S. energy policy. For the third year in a row, Senate and House Interior Appropriations conferees have supported President Bush's Clean Coal Initiative by authorizing increased funding.
Congress agreed to include more than $380 million in the Department of Energy (DOE) FY2004 Fossil Energy budget for the coal R&D. The money will be used in support of research on more efficient and economic ways for coal plants to meet current and future environmental regulations.
Included is $9 million to initiate the President's FutureGen project - the world's first zero emission coal facility that will produce both electricity and hydrogen, while sequestering greenhouse emissions.
"Congressional support of the President's Clean Coal Power Initiative will allow a continuation of the government/private sector partnership that has already produced dramatic improvements in our ability to use coal in an environmentally responsible manner," Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham said. "Congress is to be congratulated for ensuring continued progress toward meeting expanded economic and energy security benefits flowing from coal use, while overcoming environmental concerns."
President Bush has committed to a $2 billion, 10-year program for continued investment in joint government-industry clean coal projects developing innovative technologies for coal-fired power plants. It is anticipated private sector participants will contribute just over $1 billion, well in excess of the department's requirement for 50 percent private sector cost-sharing.
Earlier this year, DOE announced the selection of eight coal projects during the initial phase of the CCPI and expects to award approximately $316 million. These projects are expected to help pioneer a new generation of innovative power plant technologies that could help meet the President's Clear Skies and Climate Change initiatives.
The FY2004 budget provides an additional $170 million to begin CCPI's second phase, focusing on high-tech concepts for future coal fired power plants.
While DOE's Fossil Energy budget encompasses numerous areas, the key elements of the coal research program include: technologies to reduce emissions from existing coal-fired power plants; radical new designs for future coal-based plants, including Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle, coal-based fuel cells, and FutureGen; technologies to convert coal to clean transportation fuels; and carbon sequestration technologies to capture and store the CO2 emissions from coal that are associated with global climate change.