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Fossil Energy Assistant Secretary “Optimistic” about future of coal

Published by , Assistant Editor
World Coal,

Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg said that because of the Trump Administration’s energy policies, “We have reason to be optimistic about coal.” In a keynote speech at the Washington Coal Club’s annual awards luncheon in Washington, D.C., Assistant Secretary Winberg noted that the “Administration truly understands the value and the necessity of coal—and the coal industry,” he said.  He also stressed the potential of technology to ensure coal’s competitiveness in the U.S. energy mix. 

“We are at the beginning of the next cycle of coal technology advancements—and we have the opportunity to make great strides in efficiency and cost improvements to the existing coal fleet, and to accelerate the development of transformational technologies.”

The 300-member non-profit Washington Coal Club was established in 1982 as a forum for discussion of issues that impact the coal industry.  Its membership includes US industry executives, academia, policymakers, and legislators. Winberg made his remarks after accepting the Club’s Annual Achievement Award on behalf of Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. 

Winberg highlighted the Energy Department’s research on advanced clean coal technologies, including supercritical CO2 power cycles that can reduce the size and cost of future coal-fired power plants, while improving their efficiency. In addition, he outlined some of the research the Department is pursuing to upgrade the Nation’s existing fleet of coal power plants, including improvements to turbines, boilers, and other critical components. 

Winberg also discussed early research now underway to extract critical rare earth elements (REE) from coal and coal by-products, noting that three Department-led projects recently found high levels of REEs in various coal samples.

“This is exciting research, and it could lead to a whole new value proposition for coal—and to new industries and jobs in coal country,” he said.

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