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Despite funding, carbon capture technology and subsidies not yet viable

May 07, 2021


The United States Department of Energy last Friday announced $99 million in grants to study technology that removes carbon from industrial exhaust and uses it for other purposes, like manufacturing. More than half that money went to Wyoming’s Integrated Test Center, a facility based out of the Dry Fork Power Station in Gillette.

The same day, the DOE also announced a $3 million grant to support Wyoming-based research “focused on expanding and transforming the use of coal and coal-based resources to produce coal-based products, using carbon ore, rare earth elements and critical minerals,” delivering on a December letter of support co-signed by Wyoming Congress members Sen. John Barrasso and Rep. Liz Cheney.

The funding did not arrive in Wyoming unprompted. For roughly half a decade, state leaders and the private sector have lobbied for federal buy-in to the idea that with the right investment, the technology called carbon capture utilization and storage — or CCUS — could play a role in combating climate change and become a viable facet of the nation’s energy portfolio.

Yet for all the momentum around CCUS, some critics doubt that increased federal support will result in more viable projects or heightened competitiveness for coal and other fossil fuels. 

“…the technology is iffy and the subsidies aren’t high enough to make most projects pencil out,” Clark Williams-Derry, an energy finance analyst for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, wrote in an email.  

[Nick Reynolds]

More: Federal grants add momentum to Wyo carbon capture movement

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