Despite recent increases in US wind and solar energy generating capacity, the crux of the Obama administration's efforts to combat climate change should be using fossil fuels more cleanly, rather than eliminating them, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Monday.
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In a speech in the heart of coal country, Moniz said that while wind and solar generation have doubled over the past four years, 80% of domestic energy and 70% of electricity comes from coal and other fossil fuels. These fossil fuels "will be a major part of our energy future for decades," Moniz said, according to excerpts of a speech he planned to give at the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, West Virginia.
"That's why any serious effort to protect our kids from the worst effects of climate change must also include developing, demonstrating and deploying the technologies to use our abundant fossil fuel resources as cleanly as possible," Moniz said. "No discussion of US energy security and reducing global CO2 emissions is complete without talking about coal -- and the technologies that will allow us to use this resource more efficiently and with fewer greenhouse gas emissions."
Moniz pointed to a $6 billion investment from DOE in "clean coal" technologies, which include carbon capture, utilization and storage and said these would help "ensure that fossil energy use is cleaner, safer, and more sustainable."