by Carl Irwin
The Governor’s Taskforce on Co-firing was initiated in October 1998 through the vision and efforts of Corky DeMarco, Director of the Governor’s Office of Operations. The charge to the Taskforce was to assess the potential of co-firing strategies for enhancing the continued use of coal in West Virginia power generation plants.
The taskforce believes that, in many ways, co-firing is a win-win strategy. Co- firing with biomass, natural gas, tire derived fuel or other materials can improve emissions from existing coal burning power plants; it is a low-cost approach to use of renewable fuels; and, it can solve industrial waste disposal problems while recovering energy from materials that could otherwise end up in landfills.
The work of the taskforce is very timely due to the emergence of critical issues affecting coal-based power generation: increasingly stringent emissions limits on nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulates and greenhouse gases; deregulation and restructuring of the power generation industry; and renewable energy portfolio standards being proposed in federal and state restructuring legislation.
Through this taskforce, the coal industry, the oil and natural gas industry, the power generation industry, and the forestry industry have come together to seek synergistic, workable strategies for co-firing that are right for West Virginia’s energy future. This report, which has been coordinated through the West Virginia University National Research Center for Coal and Energy, is a synthesis of the ideas, information, and recommendations the taskforce has gathered over the past year.
The time, ideas and written contributions of the taskforce members are sincerely appreciated, as is the expert information provided by the taskforce resource people. Ms. Laura Del Col of the NRCCE has provided very competent assistance with editing and producing this report.