Clean Coal: DOE Should Prepare a Comprehensive Analysis of the Relative Costs, Benefits, and Risks of a Range of Options for FutureGen

GAO-09-465T Published: Mar 11, 2009. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 2009.
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This testimony discusses our recent report on the Department of Energy's (DOE) decision to restructure the FutureGen program. The original FutureGen plant was to capture and store underground about 90 percent of its CO2 emissions. DOE's cost share was to be 74 percent, and industry partners agreed to fund the rest. Concerned about escalating costs, DOE announced in January 2008 that it had decided to restructure FutureGen. In October 2008, DOE received a small number of applications for the restructured FutureGen; however, some of these applications were for proposals outside the restructured FutureGen's scope. As we reported, DOE is currently assessing proposals received and stated it expected to announce a selection of projects by December 2008; however, as of the beginning of March 2009, it had made no decision. DOE requested supplemental information from restructured FutureGen applicants, which will be reviewed before any selection decision. As Congress may know, the recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, known as the stimulus law, provides DOE an additional $3.4 billion for "Fossil Energy Research and Development." Such a substantial amount of funding could significantly impact DOE's decisions about how to move forward with programs such as FutureGen.

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