U.S. Gas Turbine Manufacturers Endorse Legislation for a More Efficient Gas Turbine Program


The Gas Turbine Association (GTA), whose technology generates more than a quarter of America’s electricity, on November 21, 2013  endorsed new legislation proposed by Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY) that would accelerate research and development into a new generation of more efficient U.S.-built gas turbines. As outlined, the Congressman’s bill would authorize an expansion of the Department of Energy’s fossil energy combustion research program to keep pace with the growing role of natural gas in America’s energy mix.


GTA members, reacting to the bill, cited it as a crucial step towards preserving U.S. leadership in gas turbine technology. They also highlighted its potential to sustain and create tens of thousands of high quality job opportunities for U.S. workers by keeping their products competitive on the domestic and export markets.


“Energy efficiency leads to positive and progressive fiscal, foreign, energy, and domestic policies,” said Tonko. “This legislation will provide all stakeholders in the energy industry an opportunity to participate in an innovative approach to create jobs, green our environment, invest in our future, and decrease our dependence on foreign oil. Energy efficiency should act as our fuel of choice, and this bill gets us one step closer to that.”


In a new study released also on November 21, the association offered a more detailed summary of potential economic and environmental benefits stemming from increased investment in America’s ability to design and manufacture high efficiency natural gas turbines. That report, which was prepared by ICF International, is available on the GTA website and shows that a focused, government-supported gas turbine R&D program has the potential to:


·         Create 36,000 additional, high-tech manufacturing jobs for U.S. workers by 2030;


·         Reduce U.S. C02 emissions by deploying a fleet of new natural gas-fired combined cycle (NGCC) power stations with smaller carbon footprints than plants operating today;


·         Preserve the competitiveness of U.S. gas turbine manufacturers and prevent their 84% share of the domestic market from falling to 42% by 2037.


“Congressman Tonko recognizes that without a sustained R&D effort, America’s gas turbine industry faces stiff competition from outside players whose governments are investing heavily in the future of the technology,” according to Robert Hilton, Chairman of the Gas Turbine Association Board of Directors. “Our industry today employs over 200,000 Americans, and all of us are grateful for his commendable efforts to give those men and women the support they need to compete successfully here at home and in foreign markets.”


“With America’s abundant natural gas resources set to play a larger role in our power generating portfolio, we have an obligation to ensure those resources are used wisely,” Hilton continued. “Gas turbine technology has advanced significantly over the last 20 years, but it is still relatively young compared to other methods of producing electricity. The innovation program Congressman Tonko has proposed will make it possible to extract more energy from gas turbine-based power generation while maximizing its potential as a bridge technology in the move towards a low carbon future.”


“A commitment to natural gas as part of an all-of-the-above energy policy is a major reason U.S. manufacturers spend less on energy than our international competitors. We can maintain and even grow that cost advantage through a commitment to research and development of new and efficient energy technologies — and the federal government plays a major role in that equation. Through basic research and development of efficient natural gas turbines, we can create manufacturing jobs, own the technology that will power a new generation of natural gas power plants and further our nation’s manufacturing resurgence,” added Ross Eisenberg, Vice President, Energy and Resources Policy, National Association of Manufacturers.


"Affordable and efficient natural gas is the foundation fuel for our nation's clean and secure energy future. Working alongside renewables and energy efficiency, our domestic abundance of natural gas provides an incredible opportunity to deliver essential energy and satisfy significant new demand at affordable prices well into the future,” continued Dave McCurdy, President and CEO of the American Gas Association. “There is additional room for wise and efficient growth of natural gas consumption in today's domestic energy market. With research and development of advanced technologies that use natural gas we can make progress toward our national goals of boosting our economy, improving our environment and increasing our energy security."


Bert Kalisch, President & CEO of the American Public Gas Association (APGA), stated that “Utilizing clean, abundant and affordable natural gas in the United States makes all the sense in the world. APGA supports the development of technologies that enhance the use of natural gas in the U.S. and in doing so, provide economic and environmental benefits to consumers and our country as a whole. Investments in U.S. gas turbine research will, among other things, help strengthen the potential role of distributed generation in meeting our future energy needs.”