Energy | September 29, 2008 |
Sequestering Could Be Cheaper Than Smokestacks
Adding further evidence to the notion that a market economy can promote environmental improvement, a report today from Belgium found that carbon sequestration could pay for itself as early as 2030.
Currently, sequestration, also referred to as CCS (carbon sequestration and storage), is seen as one of the most easily adopted routes to a carbon-neutral future, because—in theory, anyway—it can be adapted to existing, cost effective coal-power plants.
However, the relative newness of the technology means that utilities and electrical companies have had to develop and implement it at a loss—sometimes in excess of a billion dollars per power plant.
While I find this study’s findings encouraging, it’s important to note that they take into account many factors that may not apply in certain circumstances. For instance, without the comprehensive carbon cap-and-trade system currently in use in Europe, there would be no price pressure on non-sequestered emissions to raise the incentives for industries to invest in sequestering infrastructure.
Similarly, the report seems not to address some of the other problems currently associated with fossil-fuel technologies, such as groundwater pollution and habitat destruction.