carbon capture

Stanford Study Says Renewable Power Eliminates Argument for Using Carbon Capture with Fossil Fuels

Read time: 7 mins
coal power plant

New research from Stanford University professor Mark Z. Jacobson questions the climate and health benefits of carbon capture technology against simply switching to renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Carbon capture technology is premised on two possible approaches to reducing climate pollution: removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere anywhere in the world, an approach generally known as direct air capture, or removing it directly from the emissions source, such as the smoke stack of a fossil fuel power plant.

Jacobson's study, published last month in the peer-reviewed journal Energy and Environmental Science, concludes that carbon capture technologies are inefficient at pulling out carbon, from a climate perspective, and often increase local air pollution from the power required to run them, which exacerbates public health issues. Replacing a coal plant with wind turbines, on the other hand, always decreases local air pollution and doesn't come with the associated cost of running a carbon capture system, says Jacobson.

Renewables Offset 35 Times More CO2 Every Year Than All Carbon Capture Projects Ever, New Analysis Finds

Read time: 6 mins
Wind turbines in the California desert

A new analysis by Clean Technica found that global investment in carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) adds up to roughly $7.5 billion total. It also examined how much, for that investment, CCS has reduced atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels compared to an equivalent investment in renewable power generation.

The analysis calculated that “wind and solar are displacing roughly 35 times as much CO2 every year as the complete global history of CCS.” Clean Technica's Mike Barnard concluded, “CCS is a rounding error in global warming mitigation.”

'Clean Coal' Officially Dead in Mississippi as Southern Company Battered by Kemper Fallout

Read time: 4 mins

By Dan Zegart, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center.

Clean coal officially died in Mississippi today as state regulators voted unanimously to issue an official order denying further money for the Kemper coal plant and beginning a settlement process with its builder, Southern Company.

The order provides a legal framework for the state Public Service Commission's June 21st vote proposing the plant continue to operate on natural gas, as it has since August 2014, instead of spend additional money to try to use Kemper's non-functional multi-billion dollar gasifier to generate power from lignite coal.

“The commission today is taking firm steps towards resolving all substantive matters associated with the Kemper Project,” says the 35-page PSC order.

Southern Company's 'Big Bets' on Kemper 'Clean Coal' Plant: A Rigged Game?

Read time: 12 mins

This is a guest post by Dan Zegart crossposted from Climate Investigations Center

From the very beginning, the story of utility giant Southern Company's Kemper clean coal plant is a long trail of broken promises, according to a New York Times investigation - and the project's numerous critics.

These include many of the 186,000 utility customers in 23 largely rural, mostly low-income counties in southeastern Mississippi that are now on the hook for a good part of the plant's estimated $6.6 billion cost - this after Southern promised them and state and federal officials in 2010 that the first-of-its-kind power station wouldn't cost more than $2.4 billion. 

That figure lasted only a few months, followed by a promise of $2.8 billion. 

CCS Series: Government Subsidies Keep Alberta’s CCS Pipe Dream Afloat

Read time: 6 mins
carbon capture and storage

This is the second installment of a two-part series on carbon capture and storage. Read Part 1, Alberta's Carbon Capture and Storage Plan Stagnate as Carbon Price Lags.

As Alberta falls behind on its goal to capture 30 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year by 2020, hundreds of millions of dollars in government subsidies are being pumped into the carbon capture and storage (CCS) sector.

Enhance Energy’s Alberta Carbon Trunk Line project is receiving $495 million from Alberta and $63.3 million from Ottawa. Enhance says on its website the project would have been much smaller without the government investment.

Shell Canada, with partners Chevron Canada Ltd. and Marathon Oil Corp., is developing Alberta’s only other CCS project, called Quest, with $120 million in federal and $745 million in provincial support. Shell aims to sequester more than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year from its Scotford upgrader, starting in late 2015.

Nightmare On Coal Street: The Video

Read time: 5 mins

Earlier this week, President-elect Barack Obama announced his picks for his energy team, with Dr. Steven Chu to head up the Department of Energy.

Dr. Chu is not the happy holiday gift the “clean coal” folks were hoping for.

The blogosphere has been abuzz with something Chu said about coal in an alternative energy talk he gave at UC Berkeley in April 2007. The video of the talk is nearly two hours long, but we snagged the important bit, where he talks about coal.

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