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Characterizing the U.S. Industrial Base for Coal-Powered Electricity

Characterizing the U.S. Industrial Base for Coal-Powered Electricity

Constantine Samaras
Jeffrey A. Drezner
Henry H. Willis
Evan Bloom
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 156
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  • Book Info
    Characterizing the U.S. Industrial Base for Coal-Powered Electricity
    Book Description:

    To determine whether the industrial base for the U.S. domestic coal-based electricity generation industry can maintain the capability to design, construct, operate, and maintain coal-fired electricity generating units within reasonable cost, schedule, performance, environmental, and quality expectations, this book reviews interviews with stakeholders and data describing key elements of industry capability and validation or verification of concerns.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-5921-5
    Subjects: Physics, Law, Management & Organizational Behavior

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-vi)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xv-xxvi)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxix-xxx)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    Coal-fired power plants are the dominant source of electricity in the United States, providing 46 percent of U.S. electricity generation in 2010 (Energy Information Administration [EIA], 2011c). In light of the large share of coal-fired generating capacity in the power portfolio, much of the electricity consumed in the United States will continue to be generated from coal for an extended period of time. However, U.S. utilities have not invested heavily in new coal-fired generating capacity. Uncertainty about policy concerning reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and conventional air pollutants has depressed investment in new coal-based electricity generation and upgrades...

  10. CHAPTER TWO The Role of Coal-Fired Power in the U.S. Electricity Sector
    (pp. 11-22)

    Coal is a major source of energy for the United States, providing more than 21 percent of the total energy consumed in 2010 (EIA, 2011c). Since the middle of the 20th century, annual U.S. coal consumption has doubled from half a billion tons largely consumed by industry, to more than 1 billion tons largely consumed by electric power generation in 2010, as shown in Figure 2.1. Increasing demand for electricity, coupled with coal’s high energy density and ease of shipment by rail and barge, facilitated the deployment of coal power plants in the 20th century. During the same period, industrial...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Coal-Fired Power Plant Designs, Systems, and Components
    (pp. 23-34)

    Conventional coal EGUs have various designs and configurations but have similar processes. First, units receive, process, and combust coal to produce steam. This steam drives a turbine generator to produce electricity that is fed into the electricity transmission system. Cooling systems condense the steam back into water for reuse in creating steam. Finally, pollution-control systems reduce the levels of conventional air pollutants in the exhaust gases that are released from the facility’s smokestack, and handling systems dispose of ash and other wastes. Units can be designed as subcritical, supercritical, or ultrasupercritical units, with supercritical and ultrasupercritical units operating at higher...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Market Structure
    (pp. 35-62)

    The coal-based electricity-generation equipment industry can be divided into three market sectors, distinguished by the type and scope of activities:

    new-unit construction


    pollution control.

    The new-unit construction sector includes the design and construction of new coal EGUs, either on an existing site or on a new site, and the design, development, and production of the major subsystems and components of coal EGUs (pulverizer, boiler, steam-turbine generator system, pollution control, and cooling system). After a coal EGU is constructed, on-site staff and contractors perform routine activities associated with unit operations, as well as a broad range of maintenance activities that...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Workforce
    (pp. 63-78)

    A sufficient workforce of individuals with the skills and experience required to design, manufacture, construct, operate, and maintain coal EGUs is a critical component of industry capability. Some aspects of workforce issues were addressed in Chapter Four in the context of some segments of the market. But there are also more-general workforce issues that warrant a separate discussion.

    There has been a series of reports examining the energy-related workforce, motivated in part by the perception that the current workforce is aging, a significant portion of the workforce will retire in the near future, and fewer new hires are available to...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Observations and Remaining Questions
    (pp. 79-88)

    The U.S. industrial base that supports coal-fired electricity generation is part of a global market for materials, manufacturing capacity, and engineering, construction, and project management services. According to projections for new installations of coal-fired EGUs and discussions with representatives of industry sectors, this global demand is dominated by the growth of the power sector in China. Of the approximately 800 GW of coal EGUs projected to be installed globally between 2011 and 2035, more than 600 GW are expected to be in China (EIA, 2010a).

    In comparison, the U.S. market recently has provided 2—6 GW per year of newly...

  15. APPENDIX A Key Companies in the Coal-Based Electricity-Generation Industry
    (pp. 89-94)
  16. APPENDIX B Supplemental Tables on the Coal Industrial Base Workforce
    (pp. 95-114)
  17. References
    (pp. 115-126)