FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Government leaders joined utility executives Monday to announce the creation of a consortium that will pay for research into ways to reduce and manage carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.
The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research pulled together the partners, who are expected to spend $24 million over 10 years to support research into large-scale systems that would capture carbon dioxide.
Gov. Steve Beshear and UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. made the
announcement. Five utilities will contribute $200,000 a year. State government will kick in matching funds of up to $1 million a year.
The research, Beshear said, is especially important for Kentucky, one of the nation's top coal-producing states.
"Given the unique challenges Kentucky faces in a carbon-constrained world, our state will have to make a concerted effort to control emissions of carbon dioxide, while recognizing that coal is a vital part of our energy mix," Beshear said.
Kentucky political leaders have been clamoring for more research into technologies that will allow coal to remain the key component in electricity generation. The coal industry employs some 17,000 people in Kentucky.
House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, said the consortium will help Kentucky continue work already under way at the Center for Applied Energy Research.
"Kentucky, as a major coal producing state, must stay in the forefront of energy issues and develop technologies to reduce carbon emissions," Adkins said.
Besides carbon dioxide capture, researchers will also look into development of new combustion technology for coal and biomass that
could lead to more efficient power production.
Julie Janson, president of consortium partner Duke Energy Kentucky, said the research is important because "the business of energy is complex and constantly evolving."
Other members include Kentucky Power Co., E.ON US, East Kentucky
Power Cooperative and the Electric Power Research Institute.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)