New York — Global carbon capture and storage facility capacity increased by 33% in 2020 and 12 new commercial projects were added in the Americas, bringing that total to 38 operating facilities, which is about half the global total, think tank Global CCS Institute said Dec. 1.
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"Climate ambition, including efforts to decarbonize industry, has not been curtailed despite the adversities faced in 2020," Brad Page, Global CCS Institute CEO, said in an emailed statement regarding the release of the 2020 Global Status on CCS report.
"We're continuing to see an upward trajectory in the amount of CO2 capture and storage infrastructure that is being developed," Page said, adding that one of the largest factors driving growth is "recognition that achieving net-zero emissions is urgent yet unattainable without CO2 reductions from energy intensive sectors."
The report found there are a total of 65 commercial CCS facilities in various stages of development globally, with nearly 40 million tons of carbon dioxide being captured annually from 26 commercial CCS facilities currently in operation.
US CCS activity
Across the Americas, there is sustained and growing commitment to CCS and to climate change action more broadly from governments and businesses, despite the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and recent significant drop in oil prices, the report found.
The US already had the highest number of operational CCS facilities and continued its lead in the global CCS league hosting 12 of the 17 new commercial facilities added to the project pipeline in 2020, according to the report.
The US has some of the most advanced CCS-supportive policies in the world, including the enhanced 45Q tax credit and the California Low-Carbon Fuel Standard, the report said.
CCS has also emerged as a small area of bipartisan agreement in the US as energy and climate discussion advanced in 2020 with support from Republicans and Democrats. Additionally, the US Department of Energy helped increase the list of CCS projects in development as it committed or awarded over $270 million in co-funding agreements in 2020, according to the report.
"The versatility of CCS was on display throughout the year, as projects were announced in cement manufacturing, coal and gas-fired power plants, waste-to-energy plants, ethanol facilities and, chemical production," the report said.
Oil price volatility concerns and a need to mitigate that risk have caused more projects to include "stacked storage or dual storage options" – using both dedicated geological storage in saline formations and enhanced oil recovery, according to the report.
US CCS Facilities and Storage Hubs in Development
Source: Global CCS Institute
The 45Q tax credit and LCFS have facilitated this trend by putting a monetary value on CO2 emissions reductions, the report said.
45Q tax credit regulations were finalized in August. And while the legislation establishing credits ultimately worth $50/ton of CO2 stored in saline formations and $35/ton of CO2 stored via EOR was passed in February 2018, the Internal Revenue Service took "much longer than expected" to work through the details, the Global CCS Institute said.
It is also becoming increasingly clear that state-level net-zero emissions plans will require CCS at scale.
Influential states like California pledging to work faster to decarbonize power generation are seeing that CCS will be an "essential component" in a stable and reliable electricity grid, the report said.
Several states have committed to achieving net-zero emissions – most recently Louisiana, the fifth largest CO2 emitter in the US and home to a large industrial base, according to the report.
A total of 10 states plus DC have 100% renewable energy or net-zero emissions goals by or before 2050, according to S&P Global Platts research.
Additionally, 21 out of 58 investor-owned utility parent companies have net-zero emissions or 100% clean energy goals by or before 2020, Platts found.