"New Years Resolution #47: Get the real facts out on liquid coal"
#2. More blogging, less TV
#3. Less blogging, more time with daughter
[The more resolutions, the more chances I’ll keep a few.]
Re #47. In case Climate Progress didn’t have enough to blog on in 2008, now comes this story from Energy Washington (subs. req’d, whole article below):
Coal Liquids Advocates Need Funding, Friends And Facts In 2008
The policy debate on the future of coal use in the United States will begin to heat up almost immediately in 2008, possibly as early as the State of the Union address and in response to an imminent EPA report that will likely find coal-to-liquids (CTL) a cleaner technology than first thought, say CTL industry sources. They will be pushing, alongside industrial energy consumers, for a way to carve out a place for coal at the climate bill table, say sources on the front lines of deliberations between industry, Congress and the administration on coal.
Everybody needs facts but CTL more than most, given its overwhelming negative impact on greenhouse gas emissions, water….
Bring on the facts (or, more likely, “facts”) Bush EPA and other CTL friends. Preemptively, I’m going to start this resolution early with a long list of related posts at the end.
The rest of the article is here:
State of the Union and FutureGen
These sources say that President Bush is mulling a place for coal-liquids in his 2008 State of the Union speech, which could help bring coal back into the forefront of the energy security/climate debate — using a new administration coal initiative as a foil for new technology funding. Renewed presidential interest would be greatly welcomed by the industry, because CTL industry participants in energy bill deliberations say federal agency sources working on coal programs are telling them that some of the national labs are faced with a funding crunch for coal research. At about the same time the president signed the energy bill into law, DOE said funding for FutureGen — its flagship advanced coal power plant program — had been pared back, just as site designations were made.
As the coal debate progresses into the New Year, these sources, who have been vying for FutureGen funding to be sent their way, say the CTL industry may volunteer as the new near-term alternative to maintaining the FutureGen program. The FutureGen program explores a lot of out-ahead technologies, including the use of fuel cells, that one industry source says CTL plants could adapt in moving ahead with multi-faceted plant configurations to produce a host of liquid products, synthetic gas and even combined-cycle power generation. The technology is already there with CTL, these sources argue, including the separation of CO2 gas for storage underground. And federal backing/funding for advanced coal projects on CTL sites would help the investment community hedge the risk in investing in these facilities, they add.
A New EPA Report
Alongside industry’s vying for new sources of funding and the possibility of a new administration push for coal, CTL industry sources are also greatly anticipating a new agency report that is expected to be good in terms of emission numbers for CTL plants using available technology to make the process cleaner. The report, to be released by EPA, is expected to outshine the Idaho National Lab report released in early 2007 that demonstrated the potential of CTL to become cleaner by deploying carbon capture sequestration, and co-firing techniques using a 30 percent blend of biomass. The national lab report showed that the process could cut emissions by near 50 percent or higher compared to more conventional CTL plants. A source close to the company on which the national lab report was based, Baard Energy, said that EPA’s clean coal numbers will surpass the Idaho data. The source was privy to the EPA data, and although he could not discuss specifics, said the report is anticipated to be a plus in arguments to go forward on CTL.
The source indicated that the report has been delayed — it had been slated for late 2007 — but will be one of the most anticipated reports early in 2008, as the coal industry hunkers down for what the source called a heated climate debate fight. The source — who has been privy to high-level talks on the Hill — hinted at reasons for the report’s delays, saying recent haranguing over corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) at EPA may be the cause.
The report will help the CTL industry make a new case for the technology, which they say has always been about making coal a cleaner more viable feedstock. But the environmental opposition is also digging in its heels, with what the coal industry is calling nothing less than a religious fervor against coal use. Activists may not support coal even if it is made clean enough, a high-level coal industry source said, based on an inclination to oppose coal use however clean the process. But at the same time the country is faced with $100 per barrel oil prices, and industrial energy consumers want coal gasification to be used as a hedge against dependence on foreign imports of natural gas and oil.
Investors and Industry Alliances
These sources say the market is moving toward CTL even without activist support, in that investors are saying that no one energy source is favorable over another, and that an energy mix is needed. Banks and investors are looking at all energy technologies, say CTL industry sources, while adding that the environmentalist community needs to pay closer attention to the energy security needs and the long-term industrial ramifications of backing away from coal use in this country. The EPA report may be a first step in that direction, using its lower emission data to show that it would be foolish to kill off coal use altogether.
In light of market support for a plethora of technologies, these sources anticipate new alliances with industrial energy consumers and even the nuclear industry. High-level industry sources say that the needs and arguments for the nuclear industry in terms of loan guarantees are similar for that of CTL. The industrial consumer community wants coal gasification to offset natural gas imports and to bolster energy security, to keep U.S. manufacturing competitive.
The new alliances will enable the coal-liquids industry to make a case for the next generation of conventional fuel types; on the argument that renewable electricity alone is not the answer. Renewable development needs to be done alongside efforts to develop clean-coal power and liquid fuels, while pushing ahead on efficiency and demand-side conservation, say these sources.
- Coal-to-Liquid Is a Dead End
- Liquid coal means liquid problems
- Memo to Air Force: Stop misleading the public on liquid coal
- Congress should say NO to coal-to-diesel
- The WSJ (and Climate Progress) on Liquid Coal
- Liquid Coal Hearing Report
- China reins in liquid coal
- Liquid Coal Goes Down In Flames In Senate
- The Post Gets Coal-Liquids Story Mostly Right
- Plug-in Hybrids Beat Coal-to-Liquids (Duh!)
- Coal State Newspapers Attack Liquid-Coal Plans
- Some Thoughts on Coal to Diesel