Recently, the Global CCS Institute said carbon capture and sequestration is falling way behind the pace at which it needs to develop in order to be a meaningful contributor to worldwide CO2 reductions. Perhaps its time to consider reallocating the financial resources for CCS towards something more practical?
Today CCS is actually way behind wind and solar and renewables as a viable option; and falling further from reaching the milestones advocates had set for it to be a real factor in the climate-change fight, according to a new report by the IEA.
Every day that passes sees the CCS scenario to get a little more shaky. The International Energy Agency has been counting on CCS to contribute 7 gigatons out of 42 gigatons in CO2 reductions under “2DS,” a least-cost scenario for keeping the global average temperature from rising more than that magic 2°C (that climate people are always talking about).
“To maintain the path to the 2°C target, the number of operational projects” — eight are now operating and eight are under construction — “must increase to around 130 by 2020, from the 16 currently in operation or under construction,”
Costs are another major issue; it’s really expensive to get the carbon out of a coal plant flue, compress it to a supercritical state and send it underground to a spot that has been adequately studied to determine it can be properly contained. While the IEA is a big advocate for deployment of more renewables, it’s hard not to wonder if its continued advocacy of CCS makes sense, as investment dollars are likely to continue to be scarce in the years ahead.
Unless Washington begins to impose costs, such as a tax on carbon, for users of electricity whose generation releases greenhouse gases (thereby making CCS more competitive)
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Dallas Terry, LEED AP BD+C
Managing Director, Earth Circle Sustainable Energy
Clean Energy Consulting