Carbon capture and storage technologies are becoming more and more popular in Congress and getting bipartisan support along with that. Several bills were created in 2021 alone, aiming to finance and enhance carbon capture projects.
As the world is experiencing an emergency of reducing dangerous CO2 emissions levels in the atmosphere and speeding up the transition to a green economy, the deployment of direct air capture (DAC) and carbon capture and storage (CCS) infrastructure is speeding up too.
According to scientists, carbon capture technologies are going to be needed in large-scale deployment in order for the US to go from the second-largest emitter of GHGs in the world, to a net zero or a carbon negative country.
The Carbon Capture Improvement Act
The Carbon Capture Improvement Act was introduced on May 26th, 2021 by Senators Michael Bennet and Rob Portman. The bill permits access of the carbon capture technologies to private activity bonds for financing. It is aimed to support carbon capture utilization and storage CCUS and DAC technologies.
According to the act, if more than 65% of CO2 emissions from a given project are captured and stored underground, then 100% of the eligible equipment can be financed with private activity bonds. If less than 65% of emissions are captured and sequestered, then tax-exempt financing is permitted on a pro-rated basis.
The bill could be combined with the 45Q tax credit for carbon capture and sequestration for industrial emissions. It has received support from business, energy groups and environmental groups alike.
The Coordinated Action To Capture Harmful Emissions (CATCH) Act was put forward on May 25th, 2021 in order to boost CCUS for power plants and industrial facilities. The act serves to enhance the 45Q tax credits for carbon capture projects.
It establishes the following credit levels:
- an $85 per metric ton credit level for industrial and power generation facilities seeking to securely store captured CO2 in saline geologic formations
- $60 per metric ton of CO2 stored in oil and gas fields and for the beneficial utilization of captured carbon for the manufacturing of low and zero-carbon fuels, chemicals, building products, advanced materials and other products of economic value.
It has been estimated by an analysis that the CATCH Act, together with direct pay and a ten-year extension of 45Q, would result in around 212-252 million metric tons of carbon capture capacity by 2035 in the US industrial sector.
Higher 45Q credits would lead to increases in capture capacity of up to 61% at hydrogen plants, 79% at refineries, and 386% at cement facilities. Without any of these climate change policies, the analysis calls for no carbon capture deployment at domestic iron and steel plants.
Additional 60,700-78,600 jobs are estimated to be added by 2035 for the projected $12-15 billion carbon capture investment needed as per the bills over this period.
The Scale Act
The Storing CO2 And Lowering Emissions (SCALE) Act was introduced on March 17th, 2021 by Senators Chris Coons, Bill Cassidy, Veasey and McKinley. The bill acts as the first comprehensive CO2 infrastructure package to support the transport of CO2 from the capture to the site of utilization or permanent underground storage.
The Scale Act provides the following:
- establishes the CO2 Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (CIFIA) program to provide low-interest loans and grants for new infrastructure projects
- adds up to the existing Department of Energy CarbonSAFE program to provide cost sharing for deployment of commercial-scale saline geologic CO2 storage projects
- authorizes EPA funding to permit Class VI CO2 storage wells in saline geologic formations, and provides grants for states to establish their own Class VI permitting programs
- gives grants to state and local governments for procuring CO2 utilization products, and supports state and local programs that create demand for items created from captured carbon.
The Scale Act assists in the development of the CCUS infrastructure and thus the reduction of CO2 emissions from the industrial sector. It could also facilitate the creation of 13,000 jobs throughout the 5 year authorization.
USE IT Act
The Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act was introduced in 2019 and reintroduced in February 2021 by Senators John Barrasso and Sheldon Whitehousea. It is a bipartisan, bicameral bill that enhances the development and demonstration of carbon capture and removal technologies.
The USE IT Act aims to improve existing grant programs and regulatory processes for the deployment of carbon capture projects and CO2 infrastructure.
Biden’s American Jobs Plan
The American Jobs Plan released on March 31st, 2021 by President Joseph Biden is about to become the most important climate change legislation in US history if it becomes approved. According to the Clean Air Task Force (CATF), it is “the most significant investment proposal to commercialize carbon management technologies ever put forward by a single government.”
It has been estimated that the climate change law could grow the US carbon management capacity by more than 13-fold by 2035. That growth alone would create tens of thousands of stable jobs while setting up the country on a path to global leadership in climate change innovation.
The 5 carbon capture bills above are critical for the establishment of the CCUS and CCS industries and foster the overall climate change USA initiatives. The more projects are getting built, the easier costs will be coming down which would ensure commercial adoption and scalability. Increasing investments in those sectors have proven to create sustainable jobs and ensure long-term environmental-friendly economic growth.