ORIGINAL REPORTING: Federal Funding To Fight Carbon Emissions Raises Questions
DOE to attack CO2 emissions with billions in funding from inflation reduction, infrastructure laws; But power plant carbon capture has underperformed and could slow the energy transition while direct air carbon capture is largely untested, clean energy advocates say.
Herman K. Trabish, August 22, 2022 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Doubts linger about the potential for capturing carbon but the smartest thing to do now is challenge advocates to prove it.
Bipartisan infrastructure and Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA, investments in carbon dioxide reduction can and must be used along with clean energy to address the climate crisis, the Department of Energy said in announcing its Carbon Negative Shot, or CNS.
But some clean energy advocates are skeptical of key technologies in DOE’s plan. CO2 capture and use or storage, or CCUS, of emissions from power generation facilities has underperformed and may protect fossil fuel generation and slow renewables deployment, and direct air capture and use or storage, known as DACUS, is almost untested, they said.
“Wind, solar, and batteries will continue to be enormously valuable, but they cannot decarbonize some major industries or take CO2 out of the atmosphere,” DOE Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Dr. Jennifer Wilcox told Utility Dive. Technologies to do that need to be “at gigaton level by mid-century,” she added.
Few CCUS projects have proven fully “bankable” with current economics, the federal 45Q tax credit for CO2 reductions, and other revenues, DOE Loan Programs Office Director Jigar Shah told a July 20 CNS kickoff webinar. And history shows it takes $100 billion in public-private funding to get a technology to “full scale market acceptance,” he said.
All CO2 reduction options will be needed, policymakers, scientists, and clean energy advocates agreed in the webinar and interviews. Renewables growth is vital to decarbonization, and other pathways are also needed, webinar presenters added. But high costs and uncertain CO2 capture success leave clean energy advocates unable to endorse CCUS, they said…
There is over $12 billion for CO2 reduction in the 2022 Infrastructure law, according to Granholm, and a total of at least $99.6 billion for all the CO2 reduction programs in the IRA, a Senate summary showed. Early results from DOE’s plans are expected from CCUS while DACUS still must prove itself… click here for more