DOE awards utilities almost $1B for clean coal demos

The Dept. of Energy Friday awarded three utilities almost $1 billion for clean coal demonstration projects. Do you believe in clean coal?
Written by John Dodge, Contributor

If there's any doubt about President Obama's commitment to clean coal, they were erased Friday when his Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu announced $979 million in stimulus funds for three large carbon capture and storage demonstration projects.

Carbon sequestration, apparently, is not cheap. Another $2.2 billion in private capital will round out funding for the project. The cost goal is to add only 10 percent of the cost of electricity for capture and sequestration and 35 per cent for combustion and oxycombustion systems, according to the DOE press release.

"We can reduce carbon emissions and create new clean energy jobs.  This investment is part of our commitment to advancing carbon capture and storage technologies to the point that widespread, affordable deployment can begin in eight to ten years,” Chu said in the announcement.

The three projects aim to capture 90 per cent of the CO2 the three plants would otherwise pump into the atmosphere. The three plants are in New Haven, West Virginia run by American Electric Power; near Mobile, Ala. run by  Southern Company Services; and near Midland-Odessa, Texas and run by Summit Texas Clean Energy.

Clean coal has its doubters. The Reality Coalition (with coal in its name!) made up of five environmental groups is challenging the industry's notion about clean coal. The video below produced by the Coen brothers pretty much sums up the Coalition's position.

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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