Improving the efficiency and reliability of the existing fleet of coal-fired power plants while accelerating the development of a broad range of advanced fossil energy systems

From the very beginning of distributed electricity, fossil energy has been the dominant provider of energy enabling affordable, reliable and continuous supplies of electricity. Continued abundant supplies of relatively inexpensive domestic fossil resources and the necessity of continuous supply options to compensate for the influx of variable sources to the grid will ensure fossil fuels continue to be a large factor in the US power generation fleet for decades to come. Yet many challenges must be met to enable fossil fuels to assume their critical role in providing electricity including:

  • Optimizing the location, size, and characteristics of new generation capacity to meet demand growth
  • Determining the best options for retirement or refurbishment of aging fossil and nuclear energy generators
  • Optimizing the design of increasingly complex, new power generation technology to provide the highest efficiency and environmental economic performance
  • Optimally incorporating new power generation technology into the grid
  • Meeting current and anticipated greenhouse gas abatement requirements
  • Continued pressures to manage existing and evolving environmental performance standards
  • Supporting the optimum performance of regional grids and service operators
  • Optimizing the performance of the overall power grid to utilize new power generation technology while continuing to manage cost and environmental performance and maintain reliability
  • The need to utilize fossil generating facilities that can accommodate increasing supplies of highly variable renewable energy resources