"Even as we focus our attention on other aspects of our energy security -- including electrical power grids and crude oil supplies -- the fact remains that we must continue finding ways to ensure that coal, our most abundant power source, remains a viable energy alternative," Secretary Abraham said. "The Energy Department has accomplished a great deal in the field of emission reductions and energy efficiencies, but we will continue our focus on coal, since it is a major part of the energy resources we need to support the nation's growing economy and consumer demand."
The partnerships support President Bush's Global Climate Change Initiative, which calls for an 18 percent reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas intensity by 2012. Focused on domestic greenhouse gas emissions, the partnerships complement the work of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, an international effort spearheaded by the Department of Energy and the U.S. State Department to develop and deploy carbon capture and storage technologies worldwide. Along with the United States, delegations from 13 countries and the European Union attended the inaugural meeting of the forum in June.
The new partnerships, collectively valued at more than $18.1 million, stem from the solicitation Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships Phase I, which was issued by DOEs National Energy Technology Laboratory in December 2002. The Department of Energy will provide approximately $11.1 million to support the partnerships over the next two years. Each group will receive up to $1.6 million, with organizations contributing, on average, 39 percent.
During Phase I of the partnerships, each team will work within its own multi-state region to:
- Establish regional baselines for CO2 sources and sinks
- Identify and address issues for carbon sequestration technology deployment
- Assess environmental permitting, public awareness, and effects on ecosystems
- Develop avenues for public education and involvement
- Identify the most promising means of capturing, storing, and transporting CO2
- Evaluate procedures for long-term monitoring of CO2 storage
- Prepare implementation and technology validation plans
The regional partnerships provide a critical link to the administration’s plans for FutureGen, a highly efficient and technologically sophisticated coal-fired power plant that will produce both hydrogen and electricity, and sequester the carbon dioxide emissions. The partnerships will provide the regulatory, infrastructure, and site-selection basis for wide-scale deployment of FutureGen technology options.