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Expert panel concludes carbon capture and storage could help reduce California GHG emissions

21 January 2011

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. 

 

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Looks like the new governor has nixed any of these wasteful ideas and future "studies."

I agree.
"One limitation of CCS is its energy penalty. The technology is expected to use between 10 and 40% of the energy produced by a power station.[75] Wide scale adoption of CCS may erase efficiency gains of the last 50 years, and increase resource consumption by one third."

"The use of CCS can reduce CO2 emissions from the stacks of coal power plants by 85-90% or more, but it has no effect on CO2 emissions due to the mining and transport of coal. It will actually "increase such emissions and of air pollutants per unit of net delivered power and will increase all ecological, land-use, air-pollution, and water-pollution impacts from coal mining, transport, and processing, because the CCS system requires more energy."

Another problem is the well-selected, designed and managed geological storage sites that keep leakage down may not be at the same location as the power plant so a whole new infrastructure for the transport of the CO2 will have to be put into place. That also would be costly.

"Although the processes involved in CCS have been demonstrated in other industrial applications, no commercial scale projects which integrate these processes exist, the costs therefore are somewhat uncertain. However, some recent credible estimates indicate that a carbon price of US$60 per US-ton is required to make capture and storage competitive,[80] corresponding to an increase in electricity prices of about US 6c per kWh (based on typical coal fired power plant emissions of 2.13 pounds CO2 per kWh). This would double the typical US industrial electricity price (now at around 6c per kWh) and increase the typical retail residential electricity price by about 50% (assuming 100% of power is from coal, which may not necessarily be the case, as this varies from state to state)."

We know fossil fuels are going to run out anyways, and will increase in price as it runs out, so why not just switch over to renewables ASAP while the energy needed to do so is still cheap.

Some of the CO2 stored in deep oil wells in Alberta and Sask. is leaking to the surface. So far, it has killed and few birds and small animals. No human fatalities reported to date. If too much of it leaks into your house overnight, you may not wake up.

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