- SNL Energy reports the National Coal Council will review a report today that calls for federal support of carbon capture and storage technologies; if approved by the council, it will be presented as a recommendation to Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
- Some of the report's recommendations appear to mirror those in an analysis released by the council last year, which called for a "level playing field to deploy carbon capture and storage technologies (CCS) used for coal, natural gas and industrial sectors at commercial scale."
- The DOE maintains several programs aimed at developing carbon capture technologies, though earlier this year, the agency withdrew $240 million in funding and essentially terminated a Texas clean coal project, following lengthy delays and concerns over the project's financing.
Even as coal generation is being pulled offline, a group of coal advisories are pushing clean carbon technology as a way to utilize the leftover reserves of U.S. coal.
The National Coal Council is a federal advisory agency helping guide to DOE on policy matters.The report, according to the news outlet, is the result of a request from DOE for the council to look into how carbon markets in the oil recovery sector could help drive development of new CCS technology.
The phrase "policy parity" was a large part of the council's November 2015 report, Leveling the Playing Field: Policy Parity for Carbon Capture and Storage Technologies.
The council advocated for a range of policies, including financial incentives, regulatory changes, and research,
development and demonstration catalysts. "No single incentive by itself will provide the parity needed to effectively deploy CCS technologies. The optimal mix of incentives will need to be evaluated and provided on a project-by-project basis," the group told the DOE.
While DOE has maintained CCS and clean coal programs, the most recent news has not been good for coal advocates.
The agency in April said the "adverse effect of changing energy markets" played a role in the agency's decision to pull the Texas Clean Energy Project from its 2017 budget request. The project included a wide range of supporters, including the Clean Air Task Force, Natural Resources Defense Council and the Great Plains Institute.
In 2010, DOE awarded a $1.7 billion cooperative agreement under the initiative for TCEP, which was estimated to cost $1.9 billion. DOE's share of the project costs was $350 million, and it later increased its commitment to $450 million. The remaining costs were to be provided by Summit Texas Clean Energy LLC.
However, the project was delayed years, leading to DOE skepticism.
"Due to Summit’s inability to obtain the required commercial debt and equity project financing and the adverse effect of changing energy markets on the demand for coal-based power plants, we are concerned about the viability of the Project and the Department’s continued involvement," DOE said in a special report released in April.