Fossil Fuels:

DOE's Effort to Provide Clean Coal Technology to Poland

RCED-91-155: Published: May 22, 1991. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) efforts to implement a legislative requirement that it cooperate with Polish officials to retrofit a coal-fired powerplant in Poland with advanced coal technology, focusing on DOE: (1) revision of its original definition of a U.S. firm eligible for the project; and (2) reduction of its sulfur dioxide emission requirements for the project.

GAO found that: (1) DOE revised its original definition of a U.S. firm to eliminate a requirement that at least 50 percent of the firm's voting stock be owned by U.S. citizens, due to comments it received from coal industry representatives before it solicited bids; (2) those comments indicated that a less restrictive definition would enable more companies to bid; (3) DOE had discretion in defining what constituted a U.S. company, and the DOE Office of the General Counsel's definition was consistent with the act; (4) DOE believed that additional complexities could arise from a more restrictive definition; (5) DOE lowered the sulfur dioxide emission reduction level from 70 percent to 65 percent because it believed that a lower level would increase the number of companies eligible to compete for the contract; (6) DOE indicated that it discussed that change with Poland representatives, who voiced no concern; (7) lowering the sulfur dioxide level to 65 percent made no difference in the number of powerplants that would meet emission reduction requirements if DOE used the technology at other powerplants in Poland; (8) DOE estimated that, as a result of those changes, an additional 10 companies would be eligible to compete for the project; and (9) DOE planned to award the contract in the fall of 1991.