More Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Woes
This week the Department of Energy announced plans to pull funding from the FutureGen 2.0 project in western Illinois. FutureGen is a coal-fired power plant currently under construction that would, by utilizing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, be able to generate electricity with minimal carbon dioxide emissions.
CCS is an energy-intensive process that allows for waste carbon dioxide to be captured, transported, and finally deposited long-term in large underground geological formations. This trapping process would prevent the release of large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
This is significant news because EPA’s proposed new source performance standards for greenhouse gas emissions would require any new coal-fired power plant to be built with CCS. Notably, the Clean Air Act requires any “best system of emission reduction [be] adequately demonstrated.” While EPA is currently relying on four other heavily subsidized CCS plants to prove “adequate demonstration” of the technology, FutureGen’s financial woes and inability to meet critical deadlines isn’t terribly comforting.