Energy Department to invest $6.5M in projects aiming to improve the performance of coal

Energy Department to invest $6.5M in projects aiming to improve the performance of coal
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Nine projects focused on coal industry development and innovation will receive $6.5 million dollars in federal funding, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced Thursday.

The investment by DOE and the National Energy Technology Laboratory will go towards helping the nine companies and research institutes implement the first pilot stages of their projects, meant to focus on improving "coal-powered systems’ performance, efficiency, emission reduction, and cost of electricity."

The $6.5 million will go towards the first stages of the pilot projects, which focus on determining feasibility and finalizing budgets.

The DOE funding is part of a larger $50 million investment opportunity announced by the department in August 2017 to support the development, design and construction of "transformational coal technologies."

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Companies receiving funding for the first stage of the project include General Electric Company and Echogen Power Systems.

The Southwest Research Institute will receive the most DOE funding — $998,862 — to design and implement a large-scale coal-combustion pilot plant, which could reduce the cost of electricity used while capturing carbon dioxide.

Energy Department leadership under President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE has made clear its desire to increase the exploitation of coal within the United States and prop up the fossil fuel industry. Last September, Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryHouse Dems propose billions in extra funding for environmental programs that Trump sought to cut Overnight Energy: States fight Trump rollback of Obama lightbulb rules | Greens seek hearing over proposed rule on energy efficiency tests | Top Dem asks GAO to investigate climate threat States fight Trump rollback of Obama lightbulb rules MORE asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an independent commission, to require that electric grid operators pay more for electricity from power plants with at least 90 days of fuel on-site, a standard that only coal and nuclear could meet.

It was made in the name of resilience, under the argument that if coal and nuclear plants keep closing, the grid is at risk of extended blackouts.

However, regulators panned the proposal and argued that it wasn't "legally defensible."