Steven Chu announced today that he’ll use $2.4 billion of the stimulus funds to research clean coal projects, the AP reports. Since there’s no escaping the fact that coal will dominate the energy mix for the next decade or so, it makes sense to spend some money trying to clean it up.
With $2.4 billion, they could resurrect the abandoned FutureGen, which is supposed to be a near-zero emission coal plant. That plant was shut down last year after a mathematical error by someone in the DOE caused the project’s cost to be overstated by $600 million. The corrected estimated is that it will cost $1.3 billion to build the plant, with the government only picking up 74% of the tab.
At that price, with this new check, we could fund two FutureGens. We don’t expect that’s where the money will go though. It’ll probably just be spent on research. Boring!
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