Utilities' Potential Use of Clean Coal Technologies

T-RCED-90-56: Published: Mar 28, 1990. Publicly Released: Mar 28, 1990.

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GAO discussed the results of its nationwide survey on utilities' plans to use clean coal technologies. GAO found that: (1) utilities planned to use clean coal technologies for only 5 percent of their coal-fired generating units; (2) consideration of specific technologies depended on the severity of emission reduction requirements, target dates for compliance, and present and future electricity demands; and (3) utilities considered switching to low-sulfur coal to achieve emission reduction requirements. GAO also found that: (1) new technologies may not contribute significantly to the reduction of acid-rain-causing emissions during the next 15 years; (2) the Department of Energy experienced problems and delays in formalizing cooperative agreements with project sponsors; and (3) utilities would likely test new technologies on one unit before installing them on others.

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