Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trump Dumps Clean Coal Research

President Trump promised his Administration would bring about “Clean Coal,” but his new Budget proposed slashing Research the industry says it needs to make that a reality.

The Energy Department has spent more than $200 million a year on Research into ways to capture and store the carbon dioxide emitted when Coal is burned to make Electricity. Under Trump’s proposal released Tuesday that would be cut to $31 million, an 85% Reduction.

"It’s extremely disappointing," said Brad Crabtree, Vice President of Fossil Energy for the Great Plains Institute, a Minneapolis-based group that Studies Energy and Advocates on behalf of Carbon Capture. "I think at some point the administration is going to have to decide whether they intend to keep their commitments to ensuring a future for coal."

The White House Budget sketches out widespread changes to Energy Research, Environmental Regulation, and Government Ownership of Energy Assets, as the Trump Administration seeks $3.6 trillion in total Spending Cuts. As part of that change, the Energy Department would have its Budget cut $1.7 billion to $28 billion, with a priority placed on Revamping how it Funds future Research and Development.

The Department would focus on Basic Research, and then free those Technologies to Private Industry to develop them. That’s how Energy Secretary Rick Perry is approaching Carbon-Capture Research, Shaylyn Hynes, an Energy Department spokeswoman, said. “Secretary Perry’s support for clean coal and carbon capture has not changed with this budget request,” she said.

Coal is the top source of Energy-Related CO2 Emissions, accounting for 68% of the Emissions associated with Electricity Generation, according to Energy Department data. For each Watt of Electricity produced, Coal emits twice the CO2 as its main competitor, Natural Gas. Wind, Solar, and Nuclear Energy are nearly or entirely Carbon Free.

Coal Producers have advocated for Federal Research into the Technology to pull the CO2 from Smokestacks and Store it Underground as a way to make that Fuel “Clean”. But the Technology for doing that has so far been Expensive and Elusive.

Coal Producers say they hope Appropriators will continue Funding for this Research. "We are hopeful that Congress will support the further development and commercialization of the carbon capture technology that we believe is necessary for coal to be able to play a long-term role in providing secure, reliable, and affordable electricity while addressing concerns about CO2 and climate,” Rick Curtsinger, a spokesman for Cloud Peak Energy Inc., said in an email.

Under the auspices of the Energy Department, Researchers worked with Southern Co. to develop Technology that the Utility is installing at the Kemper County Carbon-Capture Facility in Mississippi. It Funded Research into ways captured CO2 could be used, such as turning it into a Solid that could be used in Construction. And it identified areas that would be safe to Inject the CO2 Underground for Storage.

"My administration is putting an end to the war on coal. We’re going to have clean coal, really clean coal," Trump said in March.

"As in so many areas, they are not serious when they talk about wanting to promote coal and the future for new coal," said David Doniger, Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Climate and Clean Air program. "If they don’t put any money behind it, they are not serious. If there is any pathway for continuing to use coal it’s got to include carbon capture and storage."

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