Information on Coal Conversion Activities at Selected Powerplants

RCED-84-168: Published: Jun 12, 1984. Publicly Released: Jun 21, 1984.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reported on the Economic Regulatory Administration's (ERA) Coal Conversion Program, focusing on: (1) the conversion status of electric utility boilers included in the program since the passage of the Fuel Use Act; and (2) the future demand for and use of coal. In 1981, ERA authority to require industry to use alternatives to oil and natural gas was rescinded; however, ERA continues to assist companies that wish to convert to coal voluntarily.

In September 1981, GAO provided information on 79 electric utility boilers that were included in the ERA regulatory program. At that time, 13 had been converted to coal use and, while the conversions were initiated by regulatory actions, they were completed through voluntary efforts on the part of the utilities. In a recent review of those 79 powerplants, GAO found that 45 had either been converted or were expected to be converted by 1988, and 34 had no immediate plans for conversion. After the program became voluntary, companies submitted plans to ERA for the possible conversion to coal use of an additional 55 boilers, 13 of which are scheduled for conversion by 1989. GAO noted that both government and industry project that, by 1995, coal-fired electric utility powerplants will account for 55 percent of the total electricity generated in the country.

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