An independent review panel concluded in a recent report that Californians would benefit from long-term geologic storage of carbon dioxide to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Review Panel, formed last year by three state agencies—the California Energy Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Air Resources Board (ARB)—presented its findings and recommendations in their January 2011 final report.
The Review Panel, composed of experts from industry, trade groups, academia and an environmental organization, was asked by the agencies to provide advice on the policies, institutional and regulatory changes required to enhance developing and using carbon capture and storage in California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Five public meetings were held last year to help identify key issues and frame the recommendations that would allow the state to include carbon capture and storage as an additional technology that would help meet California’s 2020 and 2050 greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.
This is an important first step in providing the pathway for geologic carbon sequestration projects in California while ensuring safety and proper stewardship for our natural resources. CCS is a necessary tool to address climate change and reduce emissions during the transition to non-emitting sources of energy over the coming decades.—CPUC President Michael R. Peevey
In addition to agreeing that there is a public benefit from long-term storage of carbon dioxide as a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Panel found that there are also numerous challenges to large-scale projects are implemented and offered recommendations to resolve or begin a process to resolve some of those challenges.
The Panel also concluded that there must be clear, efficient and consistent regulatory requirements and authority for permitting all phases of these projects in California including carbon dioxide capture, transport and storage.
The Panel recommended that California agencies recognize regulated carbon capture and storage as a measure that can safely and effectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Recommendations also included that the ARB should consider projects that store carbon dioxide as a viable carbon reduction measure and define accounting tools for measuring the stored carbon dioxide so that the carbon reductions can be valued and counted for compliance with California’s climate change regulations.
Additionally, the Panel recommended designating the Energy Commission as the lead agency to prevent significant environmental impacts in carbon capture and storage projects.
Additionally, a Technical Advisory Team, including experts from state agencies and private industry, published a series of papers that provided data and analysis supporting the report’s recommendations.