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10

Mining People Magazine

www.miningpeople.org

Mining

People

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a complement to the global approach to

emissions reduction; it needs to be a cen-

terpiece. Let’s stop demonizing the fuels

that are the foundation of our standard of

living. These are the fuels that drive our

economy that are industrializing nations

and pulling millions out of poverty every

year. Coal is here to stay. It’s past time

energy and environmental policy em-

brace it.”

– Fatih Birol, director, IEA.

“Too many coal plants have already

been lost to early retirement.

These

losses have come from the compounding

effects of regulatory overreach under

the last administration and a cocktail

of historically low natural gas prices

coupled with market-distorting renewable

mandates and subsidies. Yet, while

40 percent of the coal fleet has been

pushed off the grid since 2010, the

remaining plants continue to provide the

foundation for the reliability, resiliency,

and affordability of the grid. Keeping this

critical, fuel-secure, baseload capacity

running – and reducing barriers to

efficiency improvements – is essential to

maintaining the balance and optionality

of the nation’s power supply.”

– Count on

Coal.

The Case for Carbon Capture Has

Never Been Stronger

The

U.S.

Energy

Information

Administration’s 2019 International

Energy Outlook

projects that global

energy consumption will increase 50

percent by 2050. Electricity consumption

is expected to jump an even more

staggering 79 percent.

Should electrification take off – as many

experts expect it will – and there is a

decisive shift to electric vehicles, as well

as greater use of electricity for heating

and industrial purposes, electricity

demand could grow even faster than

what is projected here. As seemingly

aggressive as this outlook may appear,

it could easily prove far too conservative.

This reality – one of an almost

unquenchable thirst for energy –

underscores the fact that we need an

all-hands-on-deck approach to meeting

energy demand while simultaneously

reducingemissions. Existing technologies

will play a critical role but innovations just

over the horizon are likely to prove far

more important.

Fossil fuels currently meet 80 percent

of the world’s energy demand and will

remain irreplaceable for the foreseeable

future. While their share of the energy

pie may shrink in the years ahead, their

overall consumption is expected to

grow. We are firmly in the era of energy

addition, not energy transition. Globally,

the great renewables buildout is coming

on top of existing energy infrastructure,

not in place of it. That’s a fact that

should shape energy and climate policy.

Unfortunately, for too many climate

hawks, that’s science they would prefer

to ignore.

While Green New Dealers are spinning

yarns about an all-renewable energy

future, it’s not going to happen.

Renewables are essential to helping

meet growing global energy demand, but

they’re no silver bullet. The challenge of

meeting soaring energy demand while

simultaneously reducing emissions begs

for breakthroughs in technologies that

can reduce emissions from the energy

infrastructure the world currently has and

from the fuels it currently uses. It also

begs for U.S. leadership in achieving

those breakthroughs. The case for a

U.S.-led moon-shot effort on carbon

capture and utilization has never been

stronger.

As Fatih Birol, director of the International

Energy Agency said earlier this year,

while standing shoulder to shoulder with

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, carbon

capture is the “most vital” technology to

reducing emissions. His declaration was

a call to action.

Carbon capture’s essential place at

the center of the energy demand and

emissions challenge prompts an obvious

question: are we doing enough to

advance this suite of technologies? The

short answer is a definitive no.

While

promising

projects

and

demonstration efforts now exist, including

the Petro Nova and Net Power projects

in Texas and the Boundary Dam project

in Canada, a handful of projects doesn’t

even begin to scratch the surface of

what’s needed.

Smart policy – policy already being

debated in Congress – can help us

get on track. The “USE IT” Act, which

builds upon the 45Q tax credit for

carbon capture, would go a long way

in reducing barriers to carbon capture

deployment while also incentivizing the

further research and development of

technologies that will convert carbon into

products of commercial value. Instead

of a waste product, captured carbon

can become an essential ingredient in

cement, steel, chemicals or fertilizer.

A recent report found that the market for

products made from captured carbon

emissions could reach $800 billion by

2030. Provided the right suite of incentives

and support, that’s a market that could be

dominated by U.S. companies and U.S.

technology.

Any serious proposal to reduce global

emissions acknowledges the essential

role for carbon capture. It’s past

time smart policy to incentivize the

development and deployment of this

most vital suite of technologies moves

from good idea to law.

–Count on Coal