Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Report On Use of Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS).

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released its report examining the nation's use of carbon capture and storage (CCS). The report, titled “Federal Efforts to Reduce the Cost of Capturing and Storing Carbon Dioxide,” concludes that the initial costs of generating electricity with CCS would be “much more expensive than electricity produced by conventional coal-burning plants.”

According to the CBO, coal-fired power plants produce up to 45% of the usable electricity in the US, but they also account for a third of all U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is a major component in greenhouse gases, which have been associated with climate change. CCS is considered one option for coal-fired power plants to reduce their carbon emissions by “capturing” the CO2 produced when coal is burned, compressing it into a fluid, and storing it deep underground.

Although the process is in use in some industries, no CCS-equipped coal-fired power plants have been built on a commercial scale. Since 2005, lawmakers have given the Department of Energy (DOE) almost $7 billion to develop CCS technology, including its commercial viability, and reduce the cost of electricity generated by CCS-capable plants. The CBO concludes that unless funding to the DOE is substantially increased, or other policies are adopted to encourage utilities to invest in CCS, federal support is likely to play only a minor role in deployment of the technology.

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address Environmental Review and Environmental Impact Assessment.

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