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Ross McCracken

Ross McCracken

Ross is an energy analyst, writer and consultant who was previously the Managing Editor of Platts Energy Economist

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Is Carbon Capture And Storage Unavoidable?

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) has so far been more notable for its failures than its successes. In North America, only two commercial-scale post-combustion projects have been completed, both retrofitted to existing coal-fired power plants, Boundary Dam in Canada and the Petra Nova plant in Texas.

The more innovative pre-combustion Kemper County Energy Facility in Mississippi saw its capture component mothballed in 2017. All have served mainly to prove that CCS is very expensive based on current technologies, not least because of the efficiency penalty it imposes on a power plant’s operation.

In Europe, despite an original desire to get 12 CCS projects up and running by 2020, only six were awarded funding by the EU and not one made it to completion. The last one, ROAD CCS in the Netherlands, was suspended in 2017. The reasons for failure largely revolved around inadequate and inflexible public funding, the long-term risks placed on operators by the EU’s CCS Directive and antipathy towards CCS being used as an enabling technology for coal-fired generation.

In this, the US and EU appear to have parted directions at least at government level.

In the US, last year’s Bipartisan Budget Act revised the 45Q tax credits available for CCS. These will rise gradually from $10 to $35/ton for CCS with Enhanced Oil Recovery and from $20 to $50/ton for dedicated geological storage by 2024. The credit lasts for 12 years from project operation and…




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