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Vision 21: Fossil Fuel Options for the Future
be in service until at least 2020. The full commercial deployment of Vision 21 plants should not be expected until after 2030. According to current projections, the market in the post-2015 period might resemble the current market in some respects but differ in others (DOE, 1999). According to these projections, continued global economic growth will lead to greatly increased consumption of electricity and fuels. Environmental pressures will lead to a global regime of carbon management and widespread, stringent local regulations of air emissions. Restricted availability of gas supplies in many regions and extensive replacements of both coal and nuclear power plants could create many new market opportunities for coal.
Finding. Vision 21 has set extremely challenging goals for the efficient and clean use of coal in the future. The biggest challenge for the Vision 21 Program will be to develop high-efficiency technologies that can be commercialized and will be cost competitive with other forms of power generation.
Recommendation. Vision 21 should consider the potential for commercialization and cost competitiveness as key factors to the development of technologies.
Finding. The U.S. Department of Energy's goals for the Vision 21 Program are very ambitious. The combination of very high efficiency, reductions in environmentally sensitive emissions to near zero, and competitive cost is unprecedented. The achievement of these goals will require breakthroughs, both technical and operational, in a number of technologies.
Recommendation. The U.S. Department of Energy should consider competitive cost as a governing factor in the selection and funding of research and development projects for Vision 21. For example, the thermal efficiency requirement level could be modified if a less complex system would be cost competitive with other forms of power generation. Compliance with environmental regulations can not be compromised.
Future Energy Consumption
Projections indicate that the world's total primary energy supply will continue to be dominated by fossil fuels. In 2020, fossil fuels are projected to account for 92 percent of the total primary energy supply, (89 percent in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD] countries, and 94 percent in the rest of the world). The generation of electricity in 2020 is also projected to be dominated by solid fossil fuels and natural gas. For the world as a whole, solid fossil fuels will be used to generate 46 percent and natural gas for 27 percent (44 percent and 27 percent for OECD, and 48 percent and 27 percent for the rest