The owners of the U.S. coal fleet have invested more than $90 billion to add advanced emissions control technologies to coal-fueled power plants since 2000. Such investments in technology since the Clean Air Act was passed have helped reduce emissions of traditional air pollutants by more than 90 percent per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated.
The success of these emission control technologies is largely due to programs that supported research, development, demonstration and deployment of technologies that are in widespread use today. This is why the U.S. is following a similar strategy—technology development—to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Although the nation’s coal fleet emits only a small fraction (2 percent) of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas GHG emissions, America’s Power is aware of the desire to reduce worldwide carbon dioxide (CO2) and other GHG emissions. We believe that a technology-based strategy is the most realistic way to reduce these emissions. To be successful, such a strategy must be based on sustained investments and must allow adequate time to develop and deploy those technologies.
- Today, CO2 and other emissions can be reduced by improving the efficiency of the existing coal fleet. Therefore, public policies should facilitate efficiency improvements.
- Near-term, development and deployment of high-efficiency, low-emissions (HELE) technologies to generate electricity from coal can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 30 percent, compared to the existing coal fleet. Also, HELE technologies can be exported to other countries. Thus, HELE technologies can provide a bridge to an even lower-emissions coal fleet in the U.S. and other countries.
- Longer-term, America’s Power supports continued investment and supportive public policies to incentivize the development and deployment of carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) technologies, as well as other innovative and transformational technologies. We will work with policy makers to assure sustained funding and supportive policies for these technologies.