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A National Gasification Strategy

Presenting a program to stimulate robust coal-gasification technology deployment at low federal cost.

Fortnightly Magazine - June 2005

bankruptcy. 7

In contrast to natural gas, delivered coal prices have declined over the past decade, increasing the spread between coal and natural gas prices to more than $4.00/MMBtu and sparking a renewed interest in coal power-plant development. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), as of September 2004, 100 new coal plants had been proposed in the United States, representing 63,000 MW of new coal capacity and $73 billion of potential investment. 8 Although the United States holds less than 2 and 3 percent of world oil and natural gas reserves, it has more coal than any other country in the world-approximately 25 percent of world supplies and more than a 250-year supply at current consumption rates. 9 The United States also has abundant biomass resources and produces large quantities of petroleum coke residue from refinery operations (see Figure 7).

Effectively using these domestic resources to fuel gasification technology is critical for supporting U.S. energy security and fulfilling the national need for secure, clean, and affordable electricity. - WGR, MRW, and DCA


1. See Energy Information Administration at:

2. See Energy Information Administration at:; see also National Petroleum Council, Balancing Natural Gas Policy—Fueling Demands of a Growing Economy , Washington, D.C., Sept. 2003, p. 22.

3. See Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2005 , Table A14.

4. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA 860, Annual Electric Generator Report, 2002.

5. The economic consequences of high prices are described in the House Speaker’s Task Force for Affordable Natural Gas report, which states: “Because domestically produced natural gas is so vital to our nation’s energy balance, rising prices make our nation less competitive. When prices rise, factories close. Good, high-paying jobs are imported overseas. Today’s high natural gas prices are doing just that. We are losing manufacturing jobs in the chemicals, plastics, steel, automotive, glass, fertilizer, fabrication, textile, pharmaceutical, agribusiness and high tech industries.” House Energy and Commerce, The Task Force for Affordable Natural Gas, Natural Gas: Our Current Situation , Sept. 30, 2003.

6. American Chemistry Council, “Energy Costs Destroying Chemical Manufacturing Competitiveness,” (Nov. 3, 2004 news release).

7. The Fertilizer Institute, “Fertilizer Industry Weights in on Energy Crisis at Natural Gas Summit,”(June 26, 2003 news release).


9. National Mining Association, “Fast Facts About Coal,”, Sept. 9, 2003.