Earlier this year, landmark legislation which expands and reforms the 45Q tax credit for carbon capture and storage projects was signed into law. The legislation, titled the FUTURE Act, received broad bipartisan support in Congress from governors and other state leaders and a diverse coalition of industry, labor, and environmental supporters.
Since the passage of the legislation, support for carbon capture projects and infrastructure continues to grow. State and federal leaders, companies, and nonprofit organizations across the country and in different sectors are recognizing the need to prioritize carbon capture as a national energy, economic, and environmental strategy.
From new partnerships among governors and other leaders that will increase carbon capture deployment to new announcements on projects, there are positive signs that action to support carbon capture is rapidly expanding.
Here is an update on notable project news, announcements on leadership efforts, and additional legislation introduced to advance carbon capture since the passage of the FUTURE Act.
- CO2 NNECT conference. In June 2018, the first national leadership conference on carbon capture, called “CO2NNECT 2018,” was held in Jackson Hole, WY. The event was hosted by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, Occidental Petroleum CEO Vicki Hollub, Hewlett Foundation program director Jonathan Pershing, and entrepreneur and ClearPath Foundation founder Jay Faison. The conference included presentations from leading experts and innovators and opportunities for interactive dialogue with leaders across sectors. Participants learned about the latest technologies, policies, and projects, and “brought their expertise and experience to help devise strategies and align efforts for elevating carbon capture on our public agenda and scaling it up in the marketplace.” The event was organized by the Great Plains Institute.
- Governors’ Partnership on Carbon Capture. At the CO2NNECT 2018 conference, a bipartisan “Governors’ Partnership on Carbon Capture” was announced to “provide state executive leadership, focus and outreach on behalf of carbon capture policy and technology deployment.” The effort will be led initially by Wyoming Governor Matt Mead and Montana Governor Steve Bullock. Joining Governors Mead and Bullock in the Partnership is Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Utah Governor Gary and Herbert, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, and Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer. The Partnership “will undertake initiatives and support policies that further the development and deployment of carbon capture projects and CO2 pipeline infrastructure across the United States.”
- Regional Carbon Capture Deployment Initiative. Governors Mead and Bullock also announced at the CO2NNECT 2018 conference a new effort to support the build out carbon capture, CO2 pipeline infrastructure, and enhanced oil recovery and other forms of geologic storage and beneficial use of CO2 captured from industrial facilities and power plants. This Initiative will focus on applying research and data to support action through cooperative regional efforts on carbon capture infrastructure deployment. According to the Initiative’s press release, the initial phase of the project is underway and includes “baseline mapping, cost analysis, pipeline modeling, outreach to governors and state officials, and identification of state, industry, and other stakeholders and experts” for participation.
- Carbon Capture Coalition. The Carbon Capture Coalition, which is co-convened by GPI and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), has added new members since the passage of the FUTURE Act: ArcelorMittal, Bipartisan Policy Center, Carbon Wrangler, LLC, ClearPath Foundation, EnergyBlue Project, Glenrock Petroleum, Greene Street Capital, LanzaTech, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, National Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, National Farmers Union, NET Power, New Steel International, Prairie State Generating Company, Renewable Fuels Association, Shell, Third Way, and United Steelworkers. The Coalition also announced the establishment of the National Carbon Capture Leadership Council at the CO2NNECT 2018 conference. GPI’s Brad Crabtree said of the Council: “The ability to marshal leadership support and engage peer-to-peer with top government, private sector and opinion leaders will enhance the Coalition’s already demonstrated effectiveness in advancing carbon capture going forward.”
- Net Power. Net Power is an innovative start-up working to build the world’s first zero-emission power plant. The plant is in a pilot demonstration phase and reached a major milestone in May 2018. The natural gas-fired supercritical power plant, located in La Porte, Texas, achieved “first fire.” As Net Power stated, “First fire…validates the fundamental operability and technical foundation of NET Power’s new power system, which is designed to produce low-cost electricity from natural gas while generating near-zero atmospheric emissions, including full CO2 capture. In a Quartz interview, Net Power principal Walter Dimmig commented that the 45Q tax credit “makes our economic case stronger.”
- Occidental Petroleum and White Energy to Study Feasibility of Capturing CO2 for Use in Enhanced Oil Recovery Operations. At the CO2NNECT conference, Occidental Petroleum and White Energy announced a joint project to study carbon capture and transport from White Energy’s ethanol facilities to Occidental’s oil fields in West Texas. Occidental CEO Vicki Hollub said of the project: “The collaboration…is a direct result of passage” of the tax credit. Hollub added: “Carbon capture technologies have the potential to play a critical role in reducing global emissions, and this project is an important first step in cross-industry collaboration to make these efforts economic, practicable and scalable.” GPI vice president of fossil energy Brad Crabtree applauded the companies for “taking this step toward a lower carbon future.” Crabtree also said, “This is the first project to be proposed since the passage of the FUTURE Act earlier this year. Projects like this are exactly what the landmark reform of the federal 45Q tax credit was designed to do—incentivize the deployment of carbon capture technology.”
- USE IT Act. In May 2018, the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved the USE IT Act (which stands for Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies), which was introduced by Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) and a bipartisan group of senators. As the Carbon Capture Coalition described, “the Act seeks to foster continued development and deployment of carbon capture by authorizing the EPA Administrator to coordinate with the Secretary of Energy on furthering research on carbon utilization technologies and direct air capture. It would also support collaboration between federal, state, and non-governmental interests to facilitate the planning and construction of pipeline systems to transport CO2 for ultimate storage or use.” Read statements of support for the USE IT Act from Coalition members.
- Fossil Energy Research and Development Act. Representatives Mark Veasey (D-TX), David McKinley (R-WV) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) introduced the Fossil Energy Research and Development Act in the US House in May 2018. In the Carbon Capture Coalition’s endorsement of the bill, Coalition co-director Jeff Bobeck, who is director of energy policy engagement at C2ES, stated that the Act: “…will bolster funding for carbon capture research and development and provide new research directives aimed at improving carbon dioxide (CO2) storage and use and developing new CO2 utilization technologies. Expanding support for federal research and development is crucial to improving and reducing the cost of carbon capture technology to achieve wider commercial deployment in the marketplace. The U.S. Department of Energy’s research and development program must have predictable funding, clear direction, and flexibility to pursue new goals as they are identified. Carbon capture and carbon management technologies have advanced enormously during the past decade, and the Veasey-McKinley bill would accelerate that progress.”
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