The U.S. government has spent $ 1.1 billion on carbon capture projects that have largely failed
Coal should become extinct as renewable energy becomes cheaper, but the U.S. government is pushing it with the promise of capturing carbon emissions and storing them underground. Now, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has said that federal agencies have spent $ 684 billion on mostly failed coal plant capture and storage (CCS) carbon capture and storage projects, Gizmodo reported. It also spent $ 438 million on three other CCS business projects, two of which were canceled.
"DEO [Department of Energy] giving nearly $ 684 million to eight coal projects, resulting in a single operating facility, "according to a GAO report.
The DOE process for selecting coal projects and negotiating funding agreements increased the risks to which the DOE would fund projects that were unlikely to succeed.
Not only did the Department of Energy use a "high risk selection" approach to project selection, it also negotiated and funded them too quickly, according to the report. Coal talks lasted just three months instead of the usual year "based on DOE's desire to start spending money from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act quickly." In addition, it went beyond the usual cost controls and supported projects “even though they did not meet key essential milestones. ”
The DOE recently said it wants to significantly reduce the cost of carbon capture technology through a program called Carbon Negative Shot. The goal is to remove CO2 directly from the air and move it underground at a cost of less than $ 100 per tonne, using it at a gigaton scale.
However, the easiest and cheapest way to cut gigatons of emissions is to phase out expensive coal plants altogether, according to a report last year by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena). That’s because renewable energy costs have gone up in the last decade, making them efficiently cheaper than coal. And of course, adding CCS technology to coal will greatly increase costs. Nevertheless, coal and fossil fuels are a hotly debated political issue in the U.S., despite the global threats of climate change.
Ultimately, the GAO recommended more Congressional scrutiny of DOE costs on CCS. "Without equipment like this, DOE is in danger of spending a lot of money on CCS demonstration projects that have little prospect of success."
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