NYTimes debunks EPA’s new coal rules — None of expensive mandated technology sequesters carbon

The New York Times reports:

…In the last few days, Ms. McCarthy has referred to several early-stage carbon capture projects as a sign that industry can build the needed equipment. In testimony on Wednesday before the House Energy and Power Subcommittee, Ms. McCarthy cited four such projects. She told reporters on Friday that the draft rule was based on “technologies that are already entering the market and being constructed in plants today.” But the four she referred to in the committee hearing ranged from under construction to planned. None of them would sequester the carbon dioxide, and all would sell it.

The closest to opening is the Southern Company’s Kemper County plant in Mississippi, which will convert coal to gases and then filter out some of the carbon dioxide, reducing emissions by about 65 percent.

But the plant, at $5 billion, is $1 billion over budget. Southern Company said in a statement on Friday that the plant’s economics were peculiar to its location, and not a national model. Its captured carbon will be sold for use in the oil fields, where it helps force more oil to the surface.

But most power plants are not in areas where they can sell their carbon dioxide.

Revis W. James, director of the Energy Technology Assessment Center at the Electric Power Research Institute, said that before a technology could be considered commercially demonstrated, “you’d need Kemper to be operational and a couple more Kempers, and have the kinks worked out.”

Carbon capture and sequestration, he said, was unlikely to be competitive unless natural gas prices increased by 100 to 150 percent and the construction of nuclear plants was ruled out.

Ms. McCarthy also referred to three projects that would sell carbon dioxide to the oil industry: a coal plant in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the Boundary Dam project, where the provincial utility plans to rebuild a small 45-year-old unit to capture carbon dioxide; the Texas Clean Energy Project, 15 miles west of Odessa, where the builders hope to soon break ground; and Hydrogen Energy California, proposed for the oil fields of Kern County.

As the price of oil has risen, so has the value of carbon dioxide to oil drillers. The value as a carbon-reduction mechanism is unclear, though, because the result is to produce more oil, all of which will be burned, producing more carbon emissions.

E.P.A. officials say that a carbon-emissions rule would push improvements in the technology. Two decades ago when the agency required technology to reduce emissions of a different pollutant — nitrogen oxides, a smog precursor — that, too, was expensive and not thoroughly demonstrated, but today it is routine, they said.

The biggest carbon-capture project to date was at the American Electric Power’s Mountaineer plant in New Haven, W.Va. But Nicholas K. Akins, the company’s chairman and chief executive, said that technology was “definitely not ready for prime time.”

Mountaineer was a pilot project. Equipping the whole plant would have cost $1 billion, he said, and driven up costs per kilowatt-hour by 60 to 80 percent. The company eventually shut down the effort because it could not recover the costs from its customers. And injection of carbon dioxide into the earth was only possible because it was classified as a research project, he said.

Mr. Akins and other industry executives say that a rule governing new coal plants would have little impact because of the low price of natural gas. “No one in their right mind is going to start a coal unit at this point,” he said.

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6 thoughts on “NYTimes debunks EPA’s new coal rules — None of expensive mandated technology sequesters carbon”

  1. The EPA and states I deal with have required examination of CCS as part of the Best Available Control Technology (BACT) analysis for greenhouse gasses. The analysis was easy since there were no viable technologies or transport infrastructure to the demonstration sites. McCarthy’s statements on the viability of CCS floored me. My thoughts were she was either lying, dreaming or just not smart enough to read the EPA’s on evaluations.

    There was a footnote in the Pennsylvania Administrative Rules saying that a PA judge had ruled that even if the rule was impossible to comply with, you were still responsible for complying with it. McCarthy seems to believe this.

    PS. Remember, there is no war on coal, just a war on US citizens.

  2. I watched a piece on the “Discovery” Channel and was amazed, I have watched other like shows about this “global warming dilemma” that will destroy us all but this one was about the most ridiculous yet. They spent the whole hour on how they were going to capture CO2 and put the horrible substance [not once mentioning that it is essential for life on earth as we know it] out of circulation. They had a problem because it took more energy; therefore, produced more CO2 to capture it, other than in one instance, than what they captured. They took some of the dry ice and put it on a torpedo, as they called it, and went out into the Mediterranean Sea. The whole thing was difficult for them to carry out but they finally released this heavy torpedo and guess what, it sank and they were all elated at that. What did they think that it was going to float? It was to have buried itself in the sediment and that would be the last of the dreaded CO2. The other segment that was carried out in the US & involved taking CO2 out of the atmosphere with a chemical, Caustic Soda or some such substance. They spent much money and time to come up with this tower affair that in a 24 hour period did remove more CO2 than what the generator used in the test emitted and they were just thrilled. I think that the bug-eyed professor was pissing down both legs for joy over this whole test that removes 20 pounds of CO2 in a 24 hour period or far less than a normal sized cottonwood tree does in far less time, Oh well! I’m sure we see far more of this nonsense judging from the testimony of the heads of the Energy department and the EPA that I watched where the obvious thing was that they did not have a clue, about much of anything.

  3. Lawyers and Political science majors do not understand chemistry – they do not even know what a periodic table is – they think it is one use periodically by a five star restaurant . . ?? he he he – So none could ask a question nor could she even know she was presenting false information.

  4. Why didn’t the members of the committee grill her on these nonexistent or very preliminary technologies on which the EPA is making their decree? These rules and regulations will strangle our energy production, decrease our competitiveness and have no measrable effect on the environment or climate.

  5. The Texas Clean Energy Project has been pan handling for years. If it ever gets built, it will only be because of massive taxpayer subsidies. It is not even remotely economically viable.

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