US Energy Secretary Rick Perry is backing the development of a new generation of coal power plants, which produce more electricity from less coal, in an attempt to supply reliable and resilient energy for the US.
His efforts are reflective of the Trump administration’s ambitions to revive the US coal industry, with government laboratories set to complete at least two designs for smaller modular coal plants over the next four years that will be able to produce more electricity from less coal, under the Department of Energy’s proposed budget for 2019.
The new coal plants, that use high efficiency low emissions (HELE) technology, also had support from the Obama administration, as well as carbon capture technologies, according to Tarak Shah, a senior advisor in the Energy Department under former president Barack Obama.
Shah said: “No one wants to build a coal plant without [carbon capture],” he added: “They can’t get financing.”
Steve Winberg, assistant secretary for fossil energy, said with regards to HELE: “There’s still a lot of early stage research that needs to be done,” he added: “We will continue that activity.”
The introduction of HELE in the government’s energy proposals will hope to rejuvenate the coal industry by encouraging the construction of new plants in a country where a full-size power plant has not been built for at least five years.
Over the next twenty-five years, three quarters of all new coal plants will use high-efficiency low emissions (HELE) technology, reducing the proportion of less efficient subcritical plant in the global fleet to less than 40%, according to the World Energy Outlook 2017 report.