DOE expert testimony raises eyebrows

Dr. Julio Friedmann, deputy assistant secretary for clean coal at the DOE, testifies before a Congressional subcommittee.

CCS could hike energy cost 80 percent

TESTIFYING BEFORE the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Feb. 11, a technical expert from the Department of Energy estimated that carbon capture and storage technology could increase the cost of wholesale electricity by 70-80 percent.

Dr. Julio Friedmann, deputy assistant secretary for clean coal at the DOE, said the projection was for first generation technology. Capturing CO2 would cost $70-$90 per ton, he said, while second generation technology would likely cost $40-$50 per ton.

The Boilermakers union and other stakeholders in the coal energy industry have argued that the EPA will make it virtually impossible to build future coal plants because its regulations for new source emissions would require CCS, even though the technology is not yet commercially available.

CCS may hold the key to capping carbon emissions worldwide in the future, and the Boilermakers have called for a global push to advance research and development. In the meantime, EPA regulations should reflect the realities of currently available technology.

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), the subcommittee chairman, said if the price of CCS remains too high, new plants simply won’t be built and energy costs will rise. “Demonstrating full-scale CCS is alone not sufficient to make it the standard for the nation's coal-based electricity generation,” he said. “If coal power plants cost too much, nobody will build them. Energy costs will increase, making it even more difficult for families and U.S. manufacturers to compete.”