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DOE Argues for Carbon Capture’s Viability

carbon captureThe Obama Administration continues to make the argument – crucial for its carbon standards for power plants – that carbon capture is a bankable technology.

“The technology is ready,” energy secretary Ernest Moniz said last week, during a multi-nation meeting on carbon capture and sequestration, The Hill reports. “It is there. Certainly all parts of the technology have been deployed at scale.”

Also last week, the DOE announced it would invest nearly $84 million in 18 projects to research second-generation technologies for carbon capture from coal-fired power plants. The projects fall in two camps: post-combustion carbon capture for traditional power plants; and for more advanced plants, pre-combustion carbon capture from coal broken down into its chemical constituents.

The division seems apropos, since the EPA’s carbon standards for power plants break down into those for new plants (under rules proposed in September) and those for existing plants (under guidelines expected by June, now the subject of an ongoing series of public “listening sessions”).

But for coal plants to comply with the standards, they will have to install carbon capture technology – and arguments that carbon capture is unaffordable will likely be one of the biggest legal threats to the standards.

Takeaway: The Obama Administration continues to press the case for carbon capture’s viability, but these words and funds are unlikely to dissuade legal challenges against carbon standards.

Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.

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