A power plant that captures carbon is coming to Texas, thanks to federal incentives
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World leaders are in Egypt for this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference — two weeks of talks about dealing with the effects of the carbon we’ve dumped into the atmosphere, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and eventually getting them down to zero.
An energy company in North Carolina has just announced that it will build a natural gas-fired power plant with close to zero emissions, it said — thanks to funding provided by the federal Inflation Reduction Act.
The company, Net Power, said the plant will sequester surplus CO₂ underground. Net Power has been working on the concept for at least 10 years, according to CEO Ron DeGregorio.
“Big company support stepped in before government support. In fact, we said, ‘Look, Department of Energy, we know you’re interested, and when we get there, DOE, we are certainly going to want to have the support of the government.’ And we’re at that point in time,” he said.
The company plans to build a 300-megawatt plant in Odessa, Texas, at a currently estimated cost of $750 million. That’s expensive for a traditional power plant of this size, but DeGregorio said carbon capture incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act have helped to make it economically viable.
Technology like this could help power grids increase renewable energy sources, per Doug Vine at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.
“We need firm-dispatchable low-carbon power generation, and that is extremely helpful in balancing a future power system that’s going to contain large amounts of variable renewable wind and solar power,” Vine said.
But it’s still an investment in fossil fuels — something David Schlissel at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis is concerned about. Instead of the government helping to fund projects like this, he said, “we could be putting in renewables and battery storage that would start reducing emissions in three years.”
It’ll be at least five years before we know whether Net Power’s commercial plant is working as advertised, Schlissel added.
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