Study Finds Advanced Coal-Fueled Technologies Could Deliver 13:1 Return by 2020

The smart money is on clean coal. That was the conclusion of “Benefits of Investment in Clean Coal Technology,” a new study by Management Information Services on behalf of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).

Within the next decade, researchers found that the American taxpayer will see a $111 billion return on federal investment in the development and deployment of advanced coal-fueled technology.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE)’s Clean Coal Technology program will deliver $13 in economic benefits by 2020 for every dollar it spends, including 100,000 new jobs.

Management Information Services, which has conducted similar studies for the National Academy of Sciences, arrived at this result by calculating economic advantages from clean coal technologies, including energy-efficiency savings, job creation, increased U.S. exports from energy-intensive industries and the competitive value of stable pricing and energy security from a Made-in-America resource. The study supports an emerging expert consensus that coal with carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) is the low-cost, low-carbon solution to economic, energy and environmental needs and could be 15 to 50 percent less expensive than nuclear, wind or natural gas with CCS.

In the past year, Americans reaped $1.70 per dollar directed to coal-fueled energy technology, and this return is projected to grow:

  • In as little as two years, the cumulative benefits from the DOE’s coal technology investment program are projected to reach more than $12 billion, while cumulative costs will likely total $4.4 billion, for a return of nearly three times the initial investment.
  • By 2015, the benefits are expected to total $41 billion and cumulative DOE costs will likely be $5.7 billion, for a return of more than seven times the initial investment.
  • And in the next decade, cumulative DOE costs are estimated to total $8.5 billion, for a $13 return for every dollar invested.

The study’s findings are supported by the DOE’s own research. Since the department first began investigating the issue in 1999, the DOE found that publicly funded clean coal projects yielded superior returns for the U.S. taxpayer when compared with competing energy investment programs. In fact, after 50 years and more than $50 billion in investment, wind and solar comprise just 1 percent of today’s U.S. energy mix.

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