Energy Department Releases Draft Plan for $8 Billion in Fossil
Fuel Tech Loans
2 July 2013
By Taylor Kuykendall, Reporter
In a speech that ignited furor from pro-coal politicians last
week, President Barack Obama said part of his plan to lower carbon
emissions would include up to $8 billion in loan guarantees for
advanced fossil fuel technologies.
The loan guarantees would seek to give fossil fuels a chance to
carve out a spot in the nation's energy mix under a policy scheme
that insists on low carbon dioxide emissions. Obama's climate plan
insisted that new developments in technology will come along to
reduce carbon dioxide emissions, including an acknowledgement that
fossil fuels will be a part of that transition.
"Now, one thing I want to make sure everybody understands -- this
does not mean that we're going to suddenly stop producing fossil
fuels," Obama said during the speech. "Our economy wouldn't run
very well if it did."
Today, the Energy Department released a draft solicitation of how
that money would be allocated. The draft will be open to comments
from the industry, public and other stakeholders through until
"America needs an all-of-the-above approach to develop homegrown
energy and steady, responsible steps to cut carbon pollution, so
we can protect our kids' health and begin to slow the effects of
climate change," said energy secretary Ernest Moniz. "These
investments will play a critical role in accelerating the
introduction of low-carbon fossil fuel technologies into the
marketplace and reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Fossil fuels
currently provide more than 80 percent of our energy, and adopting
technologies to use them cleanly and more efficiently is critical
to our all-of-the-above approach."
The loan guarantees solicitation is for fossil fuel energy
projects that "substantially reduce greenhouse gas and other air
pollution." The loans would be for those producing technologies
that could capture and store carbon dioxide or avoid producing it
Investors often have been hesitant to move forward on such
technologies because of uncertainties, economic and political,
associated with the technologies.
The draft solicitation will be the sixth issue under Section 1703
of Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which authorizes
the Energy Department to support innovative certain energy
technologies. The draft includes a list of qualifying
technologies. The public is welcome to suggest other technologies
that should be added to the list.
The current draft places technologies into four separate areas:
advance resource development, carbon capture, low-carbon power
systems and efficiency improvements.
Advanced resource development attempts to cut back on lifecycle
contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, including fugitive
emissions from the mining and extraction of coal and natural
gases. Developing the resources, the Energy Department estimates,
accounts for about 5 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in
Examples include novel drilling techniques, gas flaring
reductions, coal gasification and collection of coalbed methane.
The carbon capture area includes capture from synthesis of fuel
from coal or other fuels, capturing carbon from electricity
generation and capture of industrial carbon.
"Currently, these facilities account for over half of the United
States' annual greenhouse gas emissions," a fact sheet on the
draft assessment notes. "The purpose of carbon capture technology
is to selectively remove CO2 from process streams and flue gases,
and produce a concentrated stream that can be compressed and
transported to a permanent storage site. Carbon capture
technologies are most applicable to large, centralized sources of
CO2 in the power and industrial sectors."
The low-carbon power systems area includes novel processes for
burning coal including oxycombustion of coal or natural gas,
chemical looping process and hydrogen turbines. The efficiency
improvements area of the draft would encourage development of
technologies that allow more energy to be beneficially used with
less fossil fuel used.
The full draft is available here: http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/07/f2/Draft%20Advanced%20Fossil%20Solicitation.02.07.13.pdf
Airport drilling yields could rise
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