Posted on February 7, 2018 by Jay Faison
Carbon capture is not just crucial to the future of coal, it’s a valuable insurance policy for our booming natural gas industry. Tax credits for the technology will allow us to scale up carbon capture from natural gas technologies. That includes the revolutionary NetPower demo plant being built in La Porte, Texas and more technologies like the Century Gas Processing Plant that’s already capturing 8.4 million tons of CO2 each year.
This technology protects our gas industry from whatever supercharged Clean Power Plan a future Democratic White House will inevitably throw at the power sector, while reducing emissions affordably now. But without a targeted policy lever (such as the 45Q tax credit extension currently being considered by Congress) to advance the technology before environmental regulations hit, the industry will be vulnerable. Every major industry player, from Exxon to Chevron to Shell, is modeling for some type of future carbon regulation. We have promising technologies that could be scaled up affordably, but they won’t be developed fast enough on their own.
Moody’s is already ringing alarm bells for coal, releasing a report succinctly concluding that U.S. coal production “will continue sharp secular decline without carbon capture and storage.“ 1 Carbon capture can avoid this decline for coal, while ensuring that our immense natural gas reserves are never imperiled like coal is today.
If our country doesn’t invest now in the technologies of the future, we will lose our energy dominance. It will hurt our exports and reduce the geopolitical strength we currently have in the liquefied natural gas market. With tax incentives to accelerate carbon capture, coal and gas can both have a future that’s clean and bright, no matter who wins the White House or what regulators in Europe and China decide on.
Given the tax credits for all other energy sources, why would we leave out clean innovative technology for coal and gas, the world’s biggest fuels for electricity?