The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) delivered on June 30th, a Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) report to Congress. The goal of the report is to present the existing regulatory framework for CCUS deployment and identify best practices for accelerating the efficient, timely, and responsible development of CCUS projects at a rapid scale.
According to CEQ Chair Brenda Mallory: “To avoid the worst impacts of climate change and reach President Biden’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, we need to safely develop and deploy technologies that keep carbon pollution from entering the air and remove pollution from the air…The report outlines a framework for how the U.S. can accelerate carbon capture technologies and projects in a way that benefits all communities.”
The report comes at a time when the Biden administration needs to speed up the development and scalability of efficient and affordable solutions to climate change. The deployment of technologies like CCUS is favorably looked upon by the new administration, so it’s working on improving cost-efficiency and adoption across industry sectors.
Carbon Capture Utilization And Storage Needs Infrastructure
As per the report, the effective rollout of CCUS projects across the country is largely dependent on a massive buildout of pipelines for CO2 transportation infrastructure. Right now, there are around 45 CCUS facilities in operation or development and 5,200 miles of dedicated CO2 pipelines.
That number will have to expand in order to support the decarbonization of all industrial sectors that need it. Midstream pipeline developers are projected to take advantage of this opportunity to establish CCUS at scale. Currently, there is no network of CO2 pipelines large enough to support carbon storage on a massive scale.
According to research, the deployment of CCUS would need to increase tenfold over the next decade to meet the administration goal of a net zero economy by 2050. The CEQ report outlines that the expansion of CO2 pipeline infrastructure in “the near term is critical to CCUS project development and that it must be carefully planned in a way that engages communities.”
Policies and Responsible Development
Another goal of the report is to highlight the details of existing and proposed federal financing mechanisms available to CCUS project developers. Some regulations are the Section 45Q tax credit, California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, and the US Department of Energy’s research.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 enacted on December 27, 2020, allows for improvement of the timing, predictability, and transparency of the Federal environmental review and authorization process for significant infrastructure projects.
The policies mentioned above aim to facilitate the rapid development of CCUS projects and make them more appealing to potential developers and investors. The CEQ report also pays attention to the responsible development of the carbon capture utilization and storage technology and infrastructure. Direct air capture is also mentioned as a way to remove carbon dioxide accumulated in the air.
However, it has been pointed out that direct air capture could be either enabled or constrained further from CCUS development, so cautionary statements and guidance have been made. That is why the White House CEQ report comes with best practice documents to assist in and encourage the responsible implementation of CCUS technology.
Opportunities were also identified within the transportation industry where the government can facilitate the construction of more extensive CO2 pipelines within the country.
The White House CEQ report serves as guidance on the regulatory framework available for the deployment of CCUS and the importance and best practices of a scalable implementation of the technology. Infrastructure is critical to be built to allow large-scale deployment and development must be carefully planned to make it more effective.