Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

Folks, It Was Only 8 Years!

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

I was amused by¬†Bush May Have Set Back ‘Clean Coal’ Efforts by 10 Years, Report Says in today’s Washington Post.

The Bush administration’s decision to halt production of an experimental power plant that would capture and store carbon dioxide emissions underground may have set back “clean coal” technology in the United States by as much as a decade, according to a congressional report released at a hearing yesterday.

Also, cost estimates used as justification for killing the commercial-scale project known as FutureGen were grossly exaggerated because Energy Department officials did not account for inflation, according to a Government Accountability Office report, also released yesterday.

The two reports, commissioned by the House Committee on Science and Technology, represent the latest efforts by the Illinois congressional delegation to revive the plant, which would be built in the small Illinois town of Mattoon. President Obama took part in the delegation’s efforts when he was in the Senate.

Now I know that may liberals feel as though the country has emerged from interminable darkness, but, folks, it was 8 years. So I am having difficulty in understanding how Bush’s decisions could possibly set back “clean coal” by 10. The article explains that Bush killed the project just a year and a half ago

The Bush administration killed plans to build the plant in December 2007, just hours after Mattoon was chosen over two sites in Texas, triggering allegations that the move was political.

So, if the plans were on track in December 2007, how can we be 10 years behind today, when the project was killed less than a year and a half ago? Oh, this was a Congressional report. That explains it.

And how gauche was it of Bush to be, gulp, political? I mean, politics couldn’t possibly have come into play with, say, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decades long effort to scuttle funding for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository (in Nevada)?

The article accuses the Bush administration of failing to properly factor inflation when comparing initial cost estimates with more recent cost estimates

The GAO report disputed the Bush administration’s contention that the costs had nearly doubled, from $1 billion to $1.8 billion, saying the figure would be $1.3 billion if adjusted for inflation.

Presumably, this was the excuse given in 2007 when the plans were killed. However, now the financial landscape has changed a little

The ultimate cost of the plant continues to be a matter of debate. Energy Secretary Steven Chu reasserted his desire yesterday to build the plant but cautioned that price estimates now range as high as $2.3 billion and that he would like to bring down the cost. He plans to meet soon with the FutureGen Industrial Alliance, private companies involved with the project, to determine how best to move forward. The alliance hopes to compete for $1 billion set aside in the economic stimulus package for “fossil energy research and development” projects.

The article ends with

Victor K. Der, acting assistant secretary for the Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy, said the technology needs to be tested at a commercial scale. He also said FutureGen is the only project of its kind close to the construction phase, calling it “near shovel-ready.”

So the project has been “killed” since December 2007 and is “near shovel-ready” today? I still don’t see where this technology could have been set back a “decade”. I’m going to chalk this one up to Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Clean Dream

Clean Dream