August 20, 2020 Read More →

Senate exploring commercial possibilities of carbon capture in Wyoming

Casper Star-Tribune:

Sens. John Barrasso and Mike Enzi converged in Gillette on Wednesday for a field hearing on carbon capture and sequestration, or the trapping and reusing of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas and pollutant.

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held its hearing at the Integrated Test Center, located on the site of the state-of-the-art Dry Fork Station power plant in the heart of Wyoming coal country. The ITC is one of the world’s only utility-scale carbon capture laboratories attached directly to a coal facility, capable of hosting large pilot projects.

Barrasso, the committee’s chairman, initiated the hearing to promote investment in energy innovations, with a specific eye toward the possibilities of commercializing carbon capture in Wyoming.

“Wyoming continues to be the leading state in the nation in carbon capture research,” Barrasso said in his opening remarks.

Just two operating carbon capture power plants exist in North America: Petra Nova power plant in Houston and Boundary Dam Power Station in Canada. In May, NRG energy suspended operation of its 240-megawatt Petra Nova carbon capture and storage unit, due to unfavorable economic conditions and high operating costs.

“Proponents of these (carbon capture) projects are selling an unproven dream that in all likelihood will become a nightmare for unsuspecting investors,” Dennis Wamsted, an analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis think tank, said in an Aug. 3 report investigating the closure of the Petra Nova unit. “Investors would do well to conduct their due diligence before investing in any coal-fired carbon capture project anywhere.” 

[Camille Erickson]

More: Barrasso, Enzi hold field hearing in Wyoming coal country on accelerating carbon capture

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