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Another One Bites the Dust: DOE Pulls Carbon Capture Project’s Funding

coal power plantFunding for a large carbon capture and storage project in Texas has been pulled by the US Department of Energy.

This move will effectively kill the Texas Clean Energy Project, the project’s developer, Summit Texas Clean Energy, told Inside Climate News.

In February the DOE denied Summit Texas Clean Energy’s request for an $11 million advance. And in the agency’s budget request for the fiscal year 2017, the DOE asked Congress to suspend the $240 million pledged to the project.

This is the fifth carbon capture and storage project the DOE has backed away, according to Inside Climate News.

The Texas Clean Energy Project would capture 2 million tons of CO2 annually — or 90 percent of emissions — from a coal-gasification plant.

The DOE’s inspector general’s office issued a report on the CCS project last month, sounding alarm bells about the developer’s inability to secure commercial funding for the long-delayed plant. “Although construction of the plant was originally planned for completion in June 2014, the Project remains in the project definition phase,” it said. “Additionally, we found that the Department had taken actions that increased its financial risk in the Project.”

While carbon capture and storage technology is expected to play a major role in reducing existing coal-fired power plants’ emissions, the technology remains expensive and unproven. Government policies that support carbon capture and storage are the “missing ingredient” in faster adoption of the technology, according to researchers and NGOs as well as energy majors. BP and Shell have called for a carbon price, which they say would make carbon capture economical.

Earlier this month ExxonMobil and FuelCell Energy said they are working together to advance a carbon capture technology that could “substantially reduce costs” associated with carbon capture. But commercial development is still years away.

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4 thoughts on “Another One Bites the Dust: DOE Pulls Carbon Capture Project’s Funding

  1. This is wonderful news. The carbon capture is a boondoggle – and the environmental destruction from mining is not even covered. In the era of cheap gas, and plunging solar and wind energy prices, and rapidly advancing energy-efficiency technologies, “clean” coal is a massive waste of capital to keep alive a filthy fuel that we don’t even need. Coal is even worse than tar sands oil. Only special interest groups seek to defy its obsolescence.

  2. Fossil fueled power generation, regardless of whether or not we apply wind power and solar energy to its absolute maximum potential, will be required. No way to avoid this reality. So, if carbon capture and sequestration is really the goal of US government, the Obama Administration, and Environmental Activists, then we need to use Tax Payer Funding to develop, build and underwrite risks of CCS projects regardless of other programs. Not only does this serve our internal requirements, it also serves as the example to the rest of the world (China, Indonesia, and Germany as examples) that there is viable, proven, and cost effective technology on a full-utility scale ready for commercialization.
    Simply feeling good that US DOE, as did the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, is now backing away from CCS does nothing to solve the world-wide issue of carbon dioxide emissions and global warming. Running away from a very expensive problem is not a solution. A tax on carbon emissions will necessarily need to be huge, and the citizens in the USA must suffer significant carbon taxation to a point of real pain before the our government actually invest their money in a solution.

  3. CCS is not a valid solution to anything. It costs too much. It decreases the efficiency of any fossil fuel fired plant to which it is applied, causing the extraction and the burning of yet more fuel to deliver the same amount of energy to the grid. It comes with brand-new problems such as finding safe long-term disposal sites, new infrastructure costs, new transportation costs, etc. We should all feel good that the DOE is backing away from these unsustainable and unaffordable projects.
    CCS is not itself a goal. The true goal is a reduction of human-caused climate change, regardless of the technical means. Renewable energy is clearly one of the best primary strategies to achieve that goal (along with efficiency of energy end-use). CCS is definitely not a “viable, proven, and cost effective technology on a full-utility scale ready for commercialization.”

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