The development and deployment of low-carbon coal technologies is critical to any plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. In 2011, coal-fired power generation contributed nearly 35% of national greenhouse gas emissions. The public sector has continued investing in research and development in recent years, and has made funds available for early demonstration projects. But even with federal funding, advanced coal demonstration projects have faced barriers at the state level, highlighting the important, but often overlooked, role that state regulators will play in deploying low-carbon coal technologies. Demonstrating and deploying low-carbon coal technologies at scale poses a number of challenges, including unique regulatory hurdles in states with traditionally regulated electricity markets. To address these challenges, this draft paper provides (1) an overview of the federal and state policies affecting deployment of low-carbon coal technologies, (2) a case study of two proposed Appalachian Power Company demonstration projects that illustrate the particular challenges in traditionally regulated states, and (3) options for both traditionally regulated and restructured states to address state-level challenges regarding technology deployment.
Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions