Recommendations10
  1. *An expanded and more prominent role for systems analysis is recommended in developing RDD&C strategies for the DOE coal program. This activity should establish a clearly stated and consistent set of criteria, assumptions, and design premises that can be applied to all technologies in a given category, to facilitate rigorous comparisons. Advanced methods of analysis, design, and risk evaluation should be adopted, and extensive interaction with the user community—notably U.S. industry—and active dissemination of major study results and methods should be pursued.

TECHNOLOGY DEMONSTRATION AND COMMERCIALIZATION

An important goal for the DOE coal program, as specified by EPACT, is to accelerate the development and commercial introduction of new technologies related to coal use. A major additional objective is to increase the competitiveness of U.S. firms engaged in supplying equipment and advanced technology to the power-generating industry at home and abroad. Before commercialization, large-scale demonstration is generally necessary to provide credible evidence of improved performance and practicability. These demonstrations are expensive and are generally cost shared by DOE and industry. The DOE role can vary from operating and managing a cost-shared facility to cofunding a program located at an industrial site and managed by the industrial partner.

The demonstration programs under DOE's FE R&D budget are generally of the first type, while the CCT demonstration projects are generally of the second type, with DOE operating only as a cofunding agency. The annual budget for FE coal R&D demonstration programs is approximately $150 million/year; additional funding for demonstrations of fuel cells and advanced turbines is included in the Office of FE's natural gas budget.11 The CCT program will expend about $6.9 billion over 14 years on 45 programs, with industry contributing more than two-thirds of the total funding. The major CCT effort is expected to result in commercial applications, and, while most of the activities are not yet completed, most of the programs seem to be well chosen, based on the level of private support. Significant future use of these technologies will depend on a follow-up commercialization program that alleviates concerns about costs and reliability of advanced technologies (see Chapter 8). The extent of DOE involvement necessary to stimulate private sector investment in such a program requires further assessment, taking into account any social costs resulting from delay in the implementation of advanced coal-based systems.

At the request of the Secretary of Energy, the National Coal Council recently completed a study of commercialization opportunities and recommended a strat-

10  

Asterisks (*) identify the most important recommendations.

11  

For FY 1994, $74 million; for FY 1995 (request), $113 million.



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