Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., teamed up for a bipartisan effort aimed at accelerating carbon capture technology development.
The National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative, or NEORI, applauded a bill that would authorize states to use private activity bonds to finance the purchase and installation of carbon capture equipment. The bonds, often used to finance large-scale infrastructure projects, would reduce financing costs for carbon capture projects due to longer repayment terms and exemption from federal taxes.
"Fifty years of carbon capture experience in multiple industries, combined with the recent successful commercial-scale demonstration of carbon capture at an existing coal power plant in Texas, shows that the technology works," said Brad Crabtree, vice president for fossil energy at the Great Plains Institute, which co-convenes NEORI. "Pairing tax-exempt private activity bonds with the 45Q tax credit can unleash private capital to scale up further deployment of carbon capture and bring costs down."
The coal industry has shown varying degrees of support for technology that would enable coal to be burned without an outsized contribution to carbon dioxide emissions compared to other fuels. Murray Energy Corp. CEO Bob Murray has called carbon capture and storage, or CCS, technology a "pseudonym for no coal" and added that it "doesn't work." Other companies have embraced support of the technology, even while decrying efforts to set the bar for new coal plants at requiring carbon capture technology on a time frame many in the industry had claimed was not feasible.
"Peabody Energy Corp. believes carbon capture and storage is a key technology for reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Michael Flannigan, senior vice president of global government affairs at Peabody in a statement accompanying NEORI's release. "This legislation is a good step toward creating policy parity for use of CCS in the energy and industrial sectors."
One of the technology's greatest hurdles has been high costs, a factor that has plagued the startup of an early carbon capture project led by Southern Co. in Kemper Co., Miss.