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2011 -12 Seminars

Assessing the Domestic Industrial Base for Coal-based Electricity Generation Equipment

Constantine  Samaras
Engineer, RAND Corporation Professor
Pardee RAND Graduate School

Coal-fired electricity generating units (EGUs) provide approximately 46 percent of the electricity generated in the United States, yet most of the existing coal-fired electricity generating fleet is 2545 years old. Deploying new coal-fired EGUs and maintenance of the existing fleet requires an industrial capacity to provide equipment, skilled labor, and project management expertise. This research addresses the concern about 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 EGUs within reasonable cost, schedule, performance, environmental, and quality expectations. The authors reviewed existing reports and databases, conducted interviews with a variety of stakeholders, and collected and analyzed data describing key elements of industry capability and validation or verification of concerns. By first describing the capability that is inherent in the existing coal-fired fleet, this work takes a first step toward addressing the larger policy questions of how to develop, deploy, and maintain an advanced, low-carbon electricity-generation industry capability into the future.