By Laura Barron-Lopez - 11/07/13 11:20 AM EST
As part of President Obama's climate agenda, the Energy Department announced on Thursday new projects that will help reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
The Department of Energy will invest $84 million in 18 projects across the United States that will help drive down the costs of carbon capture procedures for new and existing coal-fired power plants.
"In the past four years we’ve more than doubled renewable energy generation from wind and solar power. However, coal and other fossil fuels still provide 80 percent of our energy, 70 percent of our electricity, and will be a major part of our energy future for decades," Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement.
The projects will research carbon capture techniques for two different types of power plants, combustion-based power plants and power plants that break down coal into its basic chemical components.
"As part of the President’s all-of-the-above approach to develop clean and affordable sources of American energy, the projects announced today will focus on the next generation of carbon capture technologies — helping to drive down the cost, increase efficiency and ensure America’s continued international leadership in combating climate change,” Moniz said in a statement on Thursday.
To date, the administration has funneled $6 billion into clean coal technologies. Aside from the $84 million investment by the DOE for the new projects, additional costs will be covered by they industry, universities and research institutions.
The investment comes at a time when the Obama administration is under attack from the GOP for its alleged "war on coal." The Environmental Protection Agency has received criticism for its listening tour, meant to gather information on the administrations new carbon emission regulations for power plants.
The EPA is holding a listening session in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, which coal advocates plan on protesting. The Sierra Club will lead a march to EPA headquarters as well to call for more stringent regulations on coal-fired power plants.