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Senators Bunning, Obama Re-Introduce Coal-to-Liquids Legislation
Green Car Congress
US Senators Jim Bunning (R-KY) and Barack Obama (D-IL) have re-introduced a piece of legislation that would help create the infrastructure needed for large-scale production of Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) fuel in the US.
The proposed “Coal-To-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act of 2007” is based on the bill first introduced by Senators Bunning and Obama last spring and expands tax incentives, creates planning assistance, and develops Department of Defense support for a domestic CTL industry.
The Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act of 2007 enables the Department of Energy to provide loan guarantees for construction and direct loans for the planning and permitting of CTL plants. Loan guarantees will encourage private investment and planning loans will help companies prepare a plant for construction.
This legislation also will expand investment tax credits and expensing provisions to include coal-to-liquids plants, extend the Fuel Excise Tax credit, and expand the credit for equipment used to capture and sequester carbon emissions.
Finally, the bill provides the Department of Defense the funding and authorization to purchase, test, and integrate these fuels into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and military fuel supplies.
The Senators also announced they will form the Senate Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Caucus to help drive the legislation forward.
Both Kentucky and Illinois have massive coal reserves. Obama also sponsored the just-introduced BioFuels Security Act of 2007 that would institute a 60 billion gallon Renewable Fuel Standard by 2030. (Earlier post.)
(5 Jan 2007)
Related press release from Sen. Bunnings Office.
Part I: China's Coal Future
Peter Fairley, MIT Technology Review
To prevent massive pollution and slow its growing contribution to global warming, China will need to make advanced coal technology work on an unprecedented scale.
To keep pace with the country's economic growth, China's local governments, utilities, and entrepreneurs are building, on average, one coal-fired power plant per week. The power plants emit a steady stream of soot, sulfur dioxide, and other toxic pollutants into the air; they also spew out millions of tons of carbon dioxide. In November, the International Energy Agency projected that China will become the world's largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in 2009, overtaking the United States nearly a decade earlier than previously anticipated. Coal is expected to be responsible for three-quarters of that carbon dioxide.
And the problem will get worse. Between now and 2020, China's energy consumption will more than double, according to expert estimates. Ratcheting up energy efficiency, tapping renewable resources with hydro dams and wind turbines, and building nuclear plants can help, but--at least in the coming two decades--only marginally. Since China has very little in the way of oil and gas reserves, its future depends on coal. With 13 percent of the world's proven reserves, China has enough coal to sustain its economic growth for a century or more. The good news is that China's leaders saw the coal rush coming in the 1990s and began exploring a range of advanced technologies. Chief among them is coal gasification. "It's the key for clean coal in China," says chemical engineer Li Wenhua, who directed advanced coal development for Beijing's national high-tech R&D program (better known in China as the "863" program) from 2001 through 2005.
(4 Jan 2007)
Environmentalists Want To Slow Push For Coal Plants
Legislators returning to Austin next week will be met with a growing controversy. A plan by TXU to build up to 19 new coal-burning power plants across the state continues to stir up debate.
A coalition of environmental groups will ask legislators to stop the plan for these coal plants. They want more time to figure out the best way to handle the state's looming energy crisis.
Even staunch opponents of the coal plants agree that Texas is on the verge of an energy crisis. That's why TXU wants to build a new coal-burning facility at Milam County's existing Alcoa plant and at least 11 other locations by 2010.
(5 Jan 2007)