September 2008

Editorial comment

Unfortunately, when it comes to energy policy, it takes political panic to get anything done. Everything about President Bush’s energy policy was correct as far as direction goes, but providing a secure and plentiful energy future just wasn’t important enough to be funded seriously. The past and present Congresses have mirrored Bush’s approach with a series of “near misses.” “Clean coal” is one near miss. Strictly speaking, it should be called “cleaner coal.” Nevertheless, given coal’s abundance, clean coal is a goal worth pursuing, especially since most of the required technologies are already known-it’s just a matter of integrating and perfecting. After funding and hyping the so-called “FutureGen” coal plant of the future, the US Department of Energy is now ending that funding, after spending millions, because of cost overruns. In typical governmental wisdom, if future technologies incur cost overruns, they aren’t worth developing.

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