US Coal and the Technology Innovation Frontier: What Role Does Coal Play in our Energy Future?

The U.S. coal industry is coping with declining consumption as the nation burns less coal to generate electricity. The electric power sector drives coal demand and consumes over 90% of coal production. The coal industry is facing a number of challenges that include increasing production costs and competition from natural gas in the electric power market. The decreasing share of coal in power generation implies that the future of coal depends on technologies that change the way we manage and use coal such as carbon capture and utilization, coal gasification and coal liquefaction technologies. This report was prepared for the Bank of America partnership.

Authors of the report gave a briefing presentation on July 17, 2012 in Washington, DC. The presentation gives an overview of the coal industry. Affected companies discussed how they are responding to trends and technology and policy paths that would allow coal to remain an affordable energy source while addressing environmental impacts.

Dan Vermeer and Josh Seidenfeld’s article, Coal Use Rising Internationally, Environmentalists Must Shape its Course in the Energy Collective (March 27, 2013) references the report.