The huge hopes attached to carbon capture and storage technology are gradually coming down to earth, with the high cost of the technology, the lack of financial incentives through a high carbon price, and the growing affordability of wind and solar all combining to keep proposed CCS plants on the drawing board.
“Hundreds of plants were expected to be up and running by 2030, but so far none has been built. Despite this, the IEA and governments across the world are relying on CCS to save the planet from climate change,” the Climate News Network reports. “It is cheaper and easier to build wind and solar farms to produce electricity than it is to collect and store the carbon from coal-powered plants’ emissions.”
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Now, the hope that carbon capture would allow large steel, cement, chemical, and energy facilities to carry on business as usual is giving way to pessimism at CCS conferences in Europe and the United States, Brown writes. “The cost is proving so high that plants are not being built,” he says. “Another problem is that the technology for removing carbon from fossil fuels, either before or after combustion, uses 40% more fuel to achieve the same amount of power.”
In the UK, official policy calls for 50 CCS plants to be built, but not a single one of them has broken ground. In Norway, after billions of kroner in research and development investment, “a full-scale treatment plant at the industrial site at Mongstad never came to fruition. The technology proved too energy-intensive and costly for large-scale use.” As recently as 2007, then-prime minister Jens Stoltenberg had called CCS “Norway’s moon landing.”
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