May 31, 2018 Read More →

Trump Administration Continues to Push for Coal-Fleet Expansion

S&P Global Market Intelligence:

The U.S. Department of Energy is seeking information about the potential for a pilot project to test the commercial viability of a small, modular coal power plant capable of highly efficient and low-emitting operations. The DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy is focused on improving the nation’s existing fleet and spurring development of new coal-fired power plants to replace retiring generation domestically and export the technology abroad, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg told a coal conference in mid-May.

“We have the opportunity to make great strides in efficiency and cost improvements to not only the existing fleet but also accelerate the development of transformational technology that will pave the way for the plants of the future,” Winberg said at the Virginia Coal and Energy Alliance conference.

The DOE has also opened requests for information on improving the efficiency, reliability and flexibility of existing coal-fired power plants and improving steam-based power cycles for coal boilers.

The majority of today’s coal fleet was built in the 1970s, and facilities such as the Pleasants power plant in West Virginia are facing an early retirement, Winberg noted.

The next generation of coal-fired plants would presumably look a lot more like the natural gas plants and renewable energy sources that are pushing coal plants out of the marketplace. The pilot project calls for a facility that improves the current 33% average efficiency of the coal fleet to above 40% while maintaining near-zero emissions and is compatible with carbon capture technology.

More ($): Trump DOE’s fossil fuel office envisions spreading futuristic, small coal plants

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