October 26, 2020 Read More →

U.S. DOE report concludes carbon capture at Colstrip coal plant ‘not financially attractive’

E&E News:

High operating and capital costs could make carbon capture, utilization and storage “not financially attractive” at a large coal plant visited by Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette this month, according to a Department of Energy analysis recently made public.

According to the report, which was conducted by DOE and Leonardo Technologies Inc., capturing and compressing 63% of carbon dioxide from each of the Colstrip units to support advanced oil recovery would cost more than $1.3 billion. Annual operating costs at Colstrip could come in at about $108 million, the report said.

“The techno-economic assessment of CO2 capture for CO2-[enhanced oil recovery] found that due to significant capital, operating and infrastructure costs, this option may not be financially attractive,” the report said.

Completed in May 2018 at the request of Gov. Steve Bullock (D), the analysis assessed strategies for reducing emissions and improving efficiencies at Colstrip, one of the largest and most polluting coal-fired power plants in the West.

The Montana Environmental Information Center obtained the report this month through a Freedom of Information Act request, said Anne Hedges, deputy director of MEIC. Its findings were first reported last week by the Billings Gazette.

Jointly owned by six utility and energy companies, Colstrip faces an uncertain future as some of its owners intend to exit the power plant and two of its four operating units shut down this year. Washington state and Oregon, which currently accept coal from Colstrip, have also passed laws to phase out coal use this decade.

[Miranda Willson]

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