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Power Plant to be Largest Run on Coal Mine Methane

Release Date: 05/18/2006
Contact Information: Roxanne Smith, 202-564-4355 / smith.roxanne@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C. - May 18, 2006) With direct assistance from EPA and other federal partners, U.S.-based engine manufacturer Caterpillar Inc. has landed a $58 million contract from China to supply the power generation equipment for the world's largest power plant fueled by coal mine methane. This project is the result of collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors through the Methane to Markets Partnership, a U.S.-led initiative that now includes 17 partner countries, including China.

"Pollution knows no political boundaries, and in the U.S., we recognize that our environmental responsibility does not stop at our borders," said William L. Wehrum, EPA acting assistant administrator for Air and Radiation. "President Bush and EPA are committed to being a good global neighbor by exporting America's environmental successes to our international partners. By taking methane waste and turning it into wealth, China is helping us prove that doing what's good for the environment is also good for the economy."

The power plant will produce 120 megawatts of electricity from coalbed and coal mine methane from the Sihe mine, in addition to exhaust gas heat that will be recovered to produce usable hot water and steam for the mining operations. Once the project has been completed, an estimated 40 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions will be avoided over a 20-year period. This is equal to emissions from one million cars annually.

This project not only supports the goals of the Methane to Markets Partnership but also the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, of which China and the U.S. are members. The Asia-Pacific partnership, which was started earlier this year, promotes energy security, cuts in air pollution and the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The Methane to Markets Partnership was launched in November 2004 to advance cost-effective, near-term methane recovery and use as a source of clean energy. Methane is a greenhouse gas that can be used as a clean energy source.

The U.S. Government is committing up to $53 million over the next five years to support the Methane to Markets Partnership. EPA has helped to facilitate this and other coal mine methane projects in China through support of the coalbed and coal mine methane clearinghouse in China, which serves as a focal point for international and domestic investors and project developers.

More information about the Methane to Markets Partnership: epa.gov/methanetomarkets