Public Utilities Reports

PUR Guide 2012 Fully Updated Version

Available NOW!
PUR Guide

This comprehensive self-study certification course is designed to teach the novice or pro everything they need to understand and succeed in every phase of the public utilities business.

Order Now

Coal Gasification Gets Real

The technology works, but public policy will dictate its future.
Fortnightly Magazine - January 2005

industry needs to take the initiative."

But while such initiative is important, achieving broad public-policy goals will require more investment than any research coalition is likely to mobilize. What's needed, ultimately, is a new approach to advancing energy technology that eschews the need for annual federal budget allocations, provides certainty about the goals being targeted, and rewards private investments that serve long-term, public-policy goals.

The industry, moreover, would welcome such reform if it is applied equitably. "We need certainty about what we need to do," says John Stowell, a vice president with Cinergy. "If we can get a long-term view on environmental regulations and technology development, we can make more progress, quicker and cheaper."

Approaches that could bring such certainty include permanent tax credits that help companies bear R&D costs, and regulatory reform at the state and federal levels to remove disincentives for R&D-both in terms of environmental regulation and ratemaking treatment.

Under the , however, the crisis that Margolis and Kammen identified five years ago is only getting worse. "The old way of funding R&D is ineffective," Zimmer says. "It is not achieving our goals, and is putting us at risk. We need to step away from timeworn answers and find new ones." - M.T.B.

Articles found on this page are available to subscribers only. For more information about obtaining a username and password, please call our Customer Service Department at 1-800-368-5001.