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More funding needed for CCS technology on a global scale: US' National Coal Council

Houston — A National Coal Council study released Thursday determined that more funding and other incentives are needed to produce carbon capture technology that would work on a global, commercial scale.

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The study, prepared at the request of US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and titled "Fossil Forward - Revitalizing CCS: Bringing Scale & Speed to CCS Deployment," assessed the progress made by the Department of Energy on the cost, safety and technical operation of carbon capture utilization and storage technology and found it came up short.

The Kemper power plant under construction by Southern Company in Mississippi will be the first integrated gasification, combined-cycle plant with carbon capture geologic storage and will come online in 2016, said Janet Gellici, executive vice president of the National Coal Council.

The gasification technology was developed over the last 15 years by the DOE and Southern Company.

"One of the biggest recommendations in the study is that we need to have policy parity for the development of these projects," Gellici said.

"If we're going to get CCS deployed on a commercial scale, we need to have the same funding and tax incentives that are available to renewable energy sources."

The incentives are needed to reach greenhouse gas objectives on a global scale as more countries such as India integrate more coal-fired power into their energy mix, said Fred Palmer, senior vice-president of government relations at Peabody Energy, who chairs the Coal Policy Committee for the National Coal Council.

"You have to develop the technology if the world is going to meet its climate goals," Palmer said. "The answer is you have to socialize the costs."

The technology has not been tested on a larger-scale basis, Palmer said. "We know it works, but haven't done it at scale," he said. "It's very much in an R&D status, but we know the concept is sound."

--Jeffrey McDonald,
--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,