WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Coal Council (NCC) today released a new report that calls for creating a level playing field to deploy carbon capture and storage technologies (CCS) used for coal, natural gas and industrial sectors at commercial scale.
The white paper offers recommendations to create "policy parity" for CCS to achieve diverse energy policy objectives and examines the state of play for clean energy development including coal. Authors have provided a gap analysis defining the difference between the current trajectory of CCS and what is needed to propel its progress.
The white paper was requested by U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz in advance of the U.N. Conference of Parties in Paris late this month. The NCC was chartered in 1984 under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) to advise, inform and make recommendations to the U.S. Secretary of Energy on matters related to coal policy and technology.
"Coal will continue to be a major source of electricity in the United States and globally for decades to come," said NCC Chair Jeff Wallace, retired Vice President of Fuel Services for Southern Company. "The world needs CCS to achieve its environmental goals, and CCS offers the greatest opportunity to capture, use and store significant volumes of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels."
Some 87 percent of global energy is supplied by fossil fuels, and coal is by far the most abundant fossil fuel by reserves. Coal provides 44 percent of the world's electricity. Coal will remain the dominant fuel for power in 2035, accounting for approximately one-third of electricity, according to the BP Energy Outlook 2035. Currently there are more than 2,200 coal units in construction and planned globally.
NCC Report Chair Glenn Kellow, Peabody Energy's President and Chief Executive Officer, explained that the U.S. Department of Energy has stewarded a successful research and development program to spur early development of CCS technologies, though greater support is needed to bring CCS to commercial scale.
"We believe the recommendations in this report will bring much needed advances to commercialize this vital technology and will help guide decisions on global facilities that will operate for years to come," said Kellow. "This report addresses the path to near-zero emissions, which is recognized by global leaders as essential to carbon goals," Kellow said.
Principle report recommendations include:
- Financial Incentives: Financial incentives for CCS must be substantially increased and broadened to include incentives available to other clean energy sources. Incentives should be emphasized and designed recognizing, as with wind and solar in the 1990s, that CCS is an immature technology with upfront risks and high capital costs. Risk to capital must be reduced, and operating incentives are important to assure a steady long-term revenue stream and lessen direct costs to consumers.
- Regulatory Improvements: A first-of-its-kind regulatory blueprint is needed to remove barriers to construction and development of CCS projects. This blueprint would be applicable to power plants and carbon capture facilities and would apply to transportation and injection.
- Research, Development and Demonstration: The U.S. Department of Energy must be a catalyst for additional commercial-scale demonstration projects, and such projects must commence immediately. The NCC believes that the United States should set a goal of bringing online 5 to 10 gigawatts of commercial-scale projects by 2025, and development must begin now.
- Communication and Collaboration: The U.S. Department of Energy must assure U.S. and global policymakers and other stakeholders that fossil fuels will be used in coming decades to a greater extent than today, and there is a resulting need for CCS. The U.S. Department of Energy should initiate international collaboration to support the prompt deployment of 5 to 10 GW of commercial scale demonstrations in addition to U.S. projects.
In assessing policy parity for CCS, the NCC noted U.S. renewables received 12 times the federal subsidies compared with coal in 2013 even though fossil fuels produced 79 percent of U.S. energy, and renewables 11 percent.
NCC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Janet Gellici noted that the NCC has a long history of developing studies and reports supporting deployment of CCS technologies to achieve the world's ambitious environmental goals.
The NCC's Leveling the Playing Field white paper is the tenth report the Council has prepared for the U.S. Secretary of Energy on carbon management policy and technologies since 2000, Gellici said. The NCC Technical Report Chair and lead author was Fred Eames, Hunton & Williams, with Janet Gellici as a contributing author.
Council members are appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Energy and serve at no compensation. A list of Council members is available from the NCC office at info@NCC1.org or 202-756-4524.
SOURCE National Coal Council