NGOs Applaud Introduction of Heitkamp/Whitehouse bill Promoting Carbon Capture
July 13, 2016
Similar House Legislation Was Introduced in February
Environmental and public interest groups praised the Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage Act introduced today by Senators Heidi Heitkamp and Sheldon Whitehouse, along with Senators Schatz, Tester, Booker, and Kaine. The bill would accelerate the commercial deployment of technologies to capture carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and industrial facilities, and store them securely underground or in useful products.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an important technology for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Both the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have highlighted the important role that CCS can play to meet global mid-century goals for reducing carbon emissions from power plants and a wide range of industrial activities, including natural gas processing, ethanol, fertilizer and hydrogen production, refining, and the manufacture of cement, steel and chemicals.
The legislation would extend and expand the current federal Section 45Q tax credit, which already provides a performance-based incentive to capture CO2 – the credit is only received after the CO2 is stored. The current credit is available to companies that capture CO2 from power plants or industrial facilities and either sequester it or sell it to the oil industry for use in enhanced oil recovery with permanent storage; however, its current structure and very low value has hampered its use in helping develop new CCS projects. The legislation would address these shortcomings by providing more certainty to project developers and making important improvements including increasing the credit value and ensuring that new carbon use technologies are eligible for the credit. Importantly, it would also lower the threshold for annual tons of CO2 that an eligible industrial facility must capture from 500,000 tons per year to 100,000 tons per year, ensuring that a wide range of industrial activities could access the credit.
This bill complements the Carbon Capture Act of 2016 (H.R. 4622) introduced in February by Representative Mike Conaway and co-sponsored by 25 Republicans and 12 Democrats in the House.
“If we want to hit emissions targets, we’re going to need carbon capture; the UNIPCC, IEA, and other experts have already said as much. Congress can help deliver this vital climate tool by passing the Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage Act, to more adequately and effectively incentivize large-scale deployment. We applaud the continued leadership of Senators Heitkamp and Whitehouse in introducing and rallying broad support for policies like this bill that are critical in the fight against climate change,” said Josh Freed, Vice President of Third Way’s Clean Energy Program.
“2/3rds of the worlds CO2 emissions are from power plant and industrial sources. We need a globally available technology option for scrubbing carbon out of smokestacks. US incentives helped position wind and solar technology for world-wide use. The incentive proposed by Senators Heitkamp and Whitehouse is a crucial step in getting CCUS technology to that same level,” said Kurt Waltzer, Managing Director of the Clean Air Task Force.
“Carbon capture and storage should be available to play a supporting role, allowing us to prevent carbon pollution from power plants and industrial plants as we move away from fossil fuels to carbon-free energy. This bill can help increase the availability and use of this technology to limit damaging climate change,” said David Hawkins, Director of Climate Programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“This legislation provides the policy support we need to accelerate carbon capture, use and storage. This technology will play a critical role in achieving the emissions reductions we need in both the power and industrial sectors by 2050 and beyond,” said Bob Perciasepe, President of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES).
“We commend Senators Heitkamp and Whitehouse and their colleagues for continued leadership and support of carbon capture, use and storage. The legislation provides a performance-based incentive to capture CO2, put it to productive use, and store it safely and permanently underground, helping to preserve and create good-paying jobs, increase U.S. oil production, and reduce emissions from the use of America’s domestic energy resources,” said Brad Crabtree, Vice President for Fossil Energy at the Great Plains Institute.
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