The stimulus to found GTA was the need to support the Advanced Turbine Systems (ATS) Program. The ATS Program was started in 1992 which provided about $250 million over 8 years in funding from the US Department of Energy and a similar amount from industry for advanced gas turbine research and development (R&D). The main contractors were GE and Westinghouse (later acquired by Siemens) in large gas turbines, and Solar Turbines (subsidiary of Caterpillar) and Allison (later acquired by Rolls-Royce) for small gas turbines. The ATS Program also included funding for US universities to do fundamental research in gas turbines through the University Turbine Systems Research (UTSR) Program.
In Congress the House changed from Democrat to Republican majority in 1994, and there was a big push to reduce the size of government. The ATS Program was in jeopardy.
The ATS Program was funded through its completion as planned in about 2000. As the ATS Program was winding down, GTA started advocating for a follow-on program of gas turbine R&D, called the Next Generation Turbine (NGT) Program, focused on advanced intercooled cycles as well as continuing the UTSR Program and some specific technology programs such as ceramics.
The NGT Program was underway briefly until it was replaced with the Advanced Turbines Program with a focus on integrated coal gasification combined cycles (IGCCs) with carbon capture and storage (CCS), with the objective to reduce their capital cost and increase their efficiency to the point where an IGCC with CCS would have a cost of electricity equal to or lower than that of the baseline commercial IGCCs without CCS (the reference case).
GTA then advocated for a bill by Representative Tonko (D-NY) that would provide funding of $340 million over 4 years to develop technology to enable natural gas - fueled combined cycles to reach 65% efficiency and simple cycles to reach 50%. The bill, HR3209, passed the House on December 1, 2009.
Although saving the ATS Program was the primary reason GTA was formed in 1995, it was also clear at the time that the gas turbine industry would benefit if GTA could advocate rational and achievable emissions regulations to EPA. The effort was started in parallel with the advocacy of gas turbine R&D. Much of the work has been has been in the vein of informing EPA and other government agencies of the technical and practical issues with proposed regulations. The GTA makes recommendations for changes to the proposals so that the rule language matches the realities of gas turbine operations.