Views on DOE's Clean Coal Technology Program

T-RCED-88-47: Published: Jun 22, 1988. Publicly Released: Jun 22, 1988.

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GAO discussed the Department of Energy's (DOE) Clean Coal Technology Program, a cost-shared demonstration program designed to encourage the commercialization of emerging clean coal technologies. GAO noted that DOE: (1) funded seven projects with $227.5 million in federal funds and $529.8 million in nonfederal funds for the program's first phase; (2) experienced problems in finalizing cooperative agreements due to sponsors' difficulties with financial arrangements and sponsors' objections to provisions regarding federal cost recovery and technical design and operational data; (3) plans to place more emphasis on sponsors' financial arrangements and emission reduction technologies in the program's second phase; and (4) disagrees with the Environmental Protection Agency regarding the most effective technologies for near-term emission reductions at existing coal-burning facilities. GAO believes that: (1) DOE will experience some problems in the program's second phase, since it has not addressed all of the first-phase problems; and (2) pending acid rain control legislation could adversely affect the commercialization and market penetration of clean coal technologies if the legislation does not carefully link emission reduction schedules with the commercial availability of such technologies.

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