Resource planning is grinding to a halt. From EPA regulations to irrational markets, today’s policy missteps threaten tomorrow’s reliability.
Coal Gasification Gets Real
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.
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