1. The recent trend in decreasing support for coal-related advanced research activities is not commensurate with the expanding needs to support DOE's mission.
Recommendations14
  1. *Increased resources should be devoted to advanced research activities to support DOE's strategic objectives for coal, with emphasis on needs identified for mid- and long-term improvements in efficiency, emissions reduction, and cost for both power generation and fuels production.

THE ENERGY POLICY ACT OF 1992 (EPACT)

In this section the committee's conclusions and recommendations are interpreted in the context of the individual sections of EPACT that relate to coal (see Chapter 1 and Appendix B).

There is considerable overlap between the different coal-related sections of EPACT. For example, Section 1301 requires DOE to establish RDD&C programs on coal-based power generation technologies. One of the technologies addressed by DOE in this context is MHD, which is also addressed specifically in Section 1311. Similarly, issues relating to the cost-competitive conversion of coal to fuels are addressed in Sections 1301, 1305, 1309, and 1312.

In addition, there is very wide variation in the scope of different EPACT provisions. Section 1301 addresses the whole range of coal-based technologies, whereas other sections focus on very specific aspects of coal utilization, such as coal-fired diesel engines or low-rank coal R&D.

For these reasons of overlap and disparity of scope, the committee chose to develop and organize its conclusions and recommendations on the basis of strategic planning scenarios (Chapter 4) rather than by the individual sections of EPACT. The committee's approach has the advantage of providing a robust framework that can readily be adapted to respond to changes in the scenarios.

Table 10-4 summarizes the major EPACT provisions relating to coal, key features of relevant DOE programs, and the committee's comments and ratings in terms of priority for DOE. In assessing priorities for DOE activities, the committee used the criteria developed in Chapter 4. Prime considerations were the timing and goals of the program in light of the scenarios developed by the committee; the potential for technological success; likely markets; the potential for controlling, reducing, or eliminating environmentally important wastes; and the need for DOE participation, given the current development status of the technology, and other industrial and federal programs. For example, if technologies are already available commercially, the committee generally recommended a low priority in

14  

Asterisks (*) identify the most important recommendations.



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