Perspectives on the Potential of Clean Coal Technologies to Reduce Emissions From Coal-Fired Power Plants

T-RCED-90-3: Published: Oct 18, 1989. Publicly Released: Oct 18, 1989.

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GAO discussed its reviews of the: (1) extent to which pending acid rain control legislation could influence utilities to consider using clean coal technologies; and (2) Department of Energy's (DOE) process for evaluating and selecting demonstration projects for funding under its Clean Coal Technology Program. GAO noted that: (1) surveyed utilities indicated plans to use clean coal technologies for only 5 percent of their existing coal-fired generating units before 2010; (2) the utilities generally indicated that enactment of acid rain control legislation would result in their giving much greater consideration to using emerging clean coal technologies to achieve emission reductions; and (3) although some technologies could be commercially available by 1995, the technologies may require another 5 or 10 years to penetrate the market. GAO also noted that: (1) the DOE project evaluation and selection process appeared to be reasonable, and project evaluation criteria generally complied with congressional and other program guidance; (2) DOE selected 16 projects which represented a mix of technologies with diverse applications; and (3) although the technologies had the potential to reduce emissions where used, nine had limited potential for achieving national emission reductions.

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