Fossil Fuels:

Outlook for Utilities' Potential Use of Clean Coal Technologies

RCED-90-165: Published: May 24, 1990. Publicly Released: May 24, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined: (1) the extent to which electric utilities plan to use clean coal technologies for coal-fired power generation units; and (2) how such technologies could contribute to reducing acid rain.

GAO found that: (1) utilities plan to use clean coal technologies at only 5 percent of their existing coal-fired units by 2010; (2) new technologies have not been successfully demonstrated on a commercial scale; and (3) utilities have expressed concern about the technical feasibility and cost-effectiveness of clean coal technologies. GAO also found that: (1) the Department of Energy (DOE) conducted three solicitations for project proposals and experienced major delays in negotiating agreements with project sponsors; (2) three projects withdrew from the DOE program; (3) seven funded projects experienced coordination, equipment, and financing problems that caused delays in completing project phases and extensions of some completion dates; and (4) it may take 5 to 10 years for clean coal technologies to penetrate the market once they are proven and commercially available.

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