Benefits of the DOEs Clean Coal Power Program Demonstrations

The DOE's coal-based research programs and associated demonstrations offer many benefits. Demonstrations are necessary for advancing technologies and achieving widespread commercial use. The federal government's support of the Clean Coal Power Program, the DOE's leadership role in performing the program and demonstrations, and industry's participation in the program and demonstrations are crucial to bringing these technologies to market and ensuring the continued use of coal in an environmentally acceptable manner. In addition to the environmental benefit of achieving near-zero-emission coal-based plants, economic and security benefits are also realized.

A study by the Southern Company Services, Inc., estimated that the DOE coal-based research programs related to large-scale power generation are estimated to provide over $100 billion in benefits to the U.S. economy through 2020 at a cost to the federal budget of less than $4 billion [70]. Sarkus and Smouse [70] also report that, in a study conducted by EPRI, the benefits of coal research and development to consumers are estimated to be $1380 billion for the period 2007 to 2050.

In the benefits study forecasted to 2020, five savings categories were selected [63]: (1) savings in fuel costs (based on higher efficiency systems); (2) savings due to the reduced capital cost of building new plants (due to lower capital cost of plants using advanced technology); (3) savings in the cost of control technology used on existing plants (due to lower capital and operating costs to achieve environmental regulations); (4) savings from avoided environmental costs due to the reduction in emissions achieved by advanced technology (estimated credit for avoided environmental costs for health, infrastructure, and agriculture realized); and (5) increased technology export resulting from more competitive U.S. technology (clean coal technology could increase U.S. sales of technology abroad by 10-15%). Benefits that are not included in the study are those gained from utilizing these technologies beyond 2020 (e.g., repowering existing plants to realize higher efficiency and lower fuel costs), savings in business sectors due to the implementation of advanced coal-processing technology (e.g., freeing natural gas use for other sectors), and potential savings if carbon dioxide regulations are enacted. The economic benefits are listed in Table 7-6 for the five categories [63].

The projected cumulative benefits to 2020 of approximately $100 billion represent a significant return on a forecasted investment of $11 billion,

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