GE Blasts Administrations ‘Clean Coal’ Report
GE Energy, which has been a vocal proponent of so-called “clean coal” technology, is none too pleased with the Obama administration’s interagency report on the issue, released yesterday.
The report, which outlines a plan for commercializing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, finds that while there are no “insurmountable” barriers to deploying CCS technology, a number of barriers exist.
Paul Browning, a GE Energy vice president, said in a statement that he is “disappointed” the report because it does not identify enough solutions, particularly to the key issue of providing market incentives for CCS development.
The report, he said, “missed a key opportunity to address the most serious impediment to achieving this goal: the current lack of market drivers that either lower costs or create financial incentives for power companies to invest in advanced CCS technology.”
While the report discussed this challenge in depth, it did not offer recommendations for concrete action. We agree that a price on carbon would be the strongest and most economically efficient incentive; absent legislation, however, the Administration can and should create strong incentives for commercial-scale CCS deployment in the near term.
As I noted yesterday, CCS technology, whereby harmful carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants are collected and sequestered deep in the ground, is seen by many in the administration as the only hope for continuing to rely on the nation’s abundant supply of coal. While the administration has called for a transition to renewable energy sources like wind and solar, coal with CCS is seen one near-term way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
But many environmentalists argue that CCS is an expensive and unrealistic pipe dream, citing soaring cost estimates and delays in demonstrating the technology on a commercial scale.