Diversity of Fuel Sources

The national energy plan calls for a balanced and diversified portfolio of energy resources, which includes coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power, and renewable and alternative energy sources such as biomass, solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower. The national energy plan recognizes that it will likely take decades for renewable and alternative resources to make major contributions to our energy mix. At the same time, electricity demand in the United States is forecast to rise 45% by 2020 [7], which translates into adding the equivalent of 1300 to 1900 new power plants (i.e., 60-90 new plants per year) to the existing 5000 power plants in service. If current policies and practices remain unchanged, most of those plants, possibly more than 90%, will be fired by natural gas [7]. This is especially disturbing because the current oil and gas delivery system is experiencing increased stress, and bottlenecks are developing. It is the consensus of the natural gas industry that the United States will need an additional 38,000 miles of major transmission pipelines and 263,000 miles of smaller distribution lines by 2015 to bring the necessary natural gas to homes and businesses [7]. Energy security dictates a more balanced approach to new power generation; consequently, one measure of the National Energy Plan established the 10-year, $2 billion

Clean Coal Power Initiative Program (discussed in Chapter 7, Future Power Generation) to develop improved clean coal power technologies.

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