Hearings and Business Meetings

Apr 12 2006

01:30 PM

Full Committee Field Hearing

2211 King Boulevard, Casper, Wyoming Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Building 01:30 PM

Dr. Norman Shilling

Product Line Leader, IGCC Power, GE Energy

Draft – April 7, 2006
Testimony of
Dr. Norman Shilling, Product Line Leader IGCC Power GE Energy
Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Wyoming Field Hearing
April 12, 2006
Good afternoon, Senator Thomas and Members of the Committee. I am Norm
Shilling, Product Leader for IGCC Power at GE Energy. GE appreciates the opportunity
to participate at this hearing and in the Wyoming Energy Summit. GE is a worldwide
supplier of advanced power generation technologies from renewable resources such
as wind, water, biogas and solar, to natural gas, oil nuclear, and coal, the focus of
today’s hearing. I will address 5 points
First, coal will continue to be a significant part of our energy mix. We are seeing a
nationwide resurgence of interest in coal. The West is leading this trend. The power
industry has grown to recognize the advantages that low cost Western coal provides.
EIA’s most recent Annual Energy Outlook predicts that over the next 25 years, the
West is one of the regions in which the largest amount of coal-fired capacity addition
is expected.
Second, environmental considerations will strongly influence any decision to
use coal. The environmental challenges to coal are well known. We believe that the
answer lies in using the cleanest, most efficient technology to generate electricity
from coal.
This leads to my third point: integrated gasification combined cycle, or IGCC,
is a technology for using coal more cleanly and efficiently. IGCC delivers
significantly reduced emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate
matter. IGCC is highly effective in removing mercury. IGCC consumes 30% less
water than combustion coal technology and produces useful byproduct. All are
matters of particular importance in the West. IGCC also offers the capability to
remove carbon before combustion thus providing a significant savings in cost and
efficiency in comparison to post-combustion capture.
Commercial development of large IGCC plants is underway. GE, in alliance
with Bechtel, is a single source supplier of a 630 MW IGCC reference plant, with
strong contractual guarantees & warranties. The alliance is working to reduce the
cost of IGCC. GE and Bechtel have entered into front-end engineering design studies
for the 630 MW IGCC “reference plant” for two major utilities – AEP and Cinergy.
These “first-of-a-kind” plants are a critical step to the widespread commercialization
of IGCC.
GE is working now to advance IGCC to significantly improve the performance
and economics of IGCC for low rank coals. The low heating values and high moisture
in Western coals, as well as the altitudes at which Western plants would be located,
require further engineering, design and development work for IGCC systems that are
optimized for Western coals.
My fourth point is to thank you and your colleagues in the Congress for
recognizing the vital role of cleaner coal in last year’s energy bill. The advanced coal
project investment tax credit is valuable as a means to mitigate the cost differential
facing the first commercial scale IGCC plants. The new DOE loan guarantee program,
once implemented, offers another financial mechanism to support IGCC deployment.
We are particularly interested in the provisions included in section 413 of the
Act authorizing the Western Integrated Coal Gasification Demonstration Program. If
the full environmental and energy benefits of IGCC are to be achieved, the ability of
IGCC to efficiently use Western coals must be established. Significant engineering
and technology integration is required for the first-of-a-kind plants for Western coals.
The cost-shared Western IGCC demonstration program could provide the framework
for Federal government and industry to work together to expand the envelope of
efficient, low emissions IGCC plants to economically use these coals. We support and
appreciate your efforts to speed the implementation of this program.
My last point is to highlight the opportunities that are available through the
gasification component of IGCC to deliver broader benefit from coal. Gasification is a
coal refining process. It can generate a slate of products including hydrogen and
ultra-clean transportation fuels such as diesel. The gasification aspect of IGCC thus
provides a path away from imported petroleum or natural gas for the production of
many of our national staples. We encourage the consideration of a broader federal
policy initiative to take advantage of this opportunity.

In summary, GE believes that the national, economic and energy security
interests of the United States will be served by deploying cleaner coal technologies,
such as IGCC, that enable us to utilize the full range of our domestic coal resources --
including those found here in the West. We thank you for your leadership, and look
forward to working with you to this end.
I look forward to your questions.