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7 Legislative Outreach
Trailblazer is a cutting-edge, first-of-a-kind project whose success could have far-reaching effects on the future of electricity generation in Texas, the USA and perhaps the world. It is generally recognized that any project that incorporates CCS will incur incremental costs. In order to offset these added costs, either some value must be placed on the reductions of greenhouse gases that CCS projects provide, or direct, policy-based inducements need to be developed to encourage early CCS deployment and ultimate commercialization. In either approach, new policy is necessary. Tenaska has recognized the need to help educate lawmakers regarding CCS policies that encourage development.
One avenue for placing a value on reducing atmospheric CO2 levels has been associated with climate change legislation that has been deliberated in the USA Congress, whereby a limitation on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through a reduction mechanism, like cap and trade, would impose a regulatory cost on GHG emissions and convey a value on GHG reductions. In addition to creating an economic incentive for reducing GHG, proposed climate change legislation has also included provisions aimed at encouraging CCS. In addition, stand-alone legislation has been introduced in the USA Senate that would provide direct incentives for CCS projects.
Tenaska has been a leading resource for lawmakers developing federal and state policy designed to encourage the development of CCS projects. The company has participated in dozens of meetings with members of Congress and staff and members of the Texas legislature and staff to discuss the merits of CCS, and in particular, Trailblazer, as well as how legislation supportive of CCS commercialization could be structured. Tenaska personnel have testified at federal and state hearings on CCS and Trailblazer, and have commented on proposed legislation.
In almost all cases, discussions concerning carbon storage and Trailblazer have been met with considerable interest and enthusiasm by members and staff. In addition to its educational outreach and legislative advocacy, Tenaska has discussed changes to the USA tax code that are needed to revise existing CCS tax credit policy in a manner to facilitate commercial terms necessary to support project financing.
As mentioned above, it is important to ensure that key legislators are aware of both the economic and national energy security benefits of the Project. Towards that end, Tenaska has participated in dozens of briefing sessions on Trailblazer with staff and legislators at both the state and national level.
In addition to Capitol Hill meetings in Washington, D.C., Tenaska has been a central resource for lawmakers in CCS policy development in Texas. The Texas Legislature, recognizing the benefits of carbon dioxide’s role in enhanced oil recovery based on decades of experience, was interested in formulating legislation to encourage clean energy development including CCS. Representatives of Tenaska worked closely with CCS advocacy groups and members of the legislature to craft clean energy legislation that has potential to provide significant economic incentives to the Trailblazer project.
Dr. Greg Kunkel, Tenaska’s Vice President of Environmental Affairs, has testified about the Trailblazer project before a number of state and federal legislative committees, including:
- the USA House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment;
- the USA House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources;
- the USA House of Representatives Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming;
- the Texas Senate Committee on Natural Resources; and
- the Texas House of Representatives Committee on Energy Resources.
Copies of Dr. Kunkel’s testimony are included as Exhibit 7.
In addition, representatives from Tenaska presented information and perspective on CCS to President Obama’s Interagency Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage (Task Force). The Task Force was charged with developing a comprehensive and coordinated Federal strategy to speed the commercial development and deployment of carbon capture and storage technologies in line with the Administration’s goals for climate protection and a goal of bringing five to 10 commercial demonstration projects online by 2016. Tenaska was invited to meet with the Task Force to describe its involvement and experience with CCS. In addition, organizations of whom Tenaska is a member, and works closely, including the Coal Utilization Research Council, the North American Carbon Capture and Storage Association, the Electric Power Supply Association, and the Clean Air Task Force supplied comments to the Task Force that were influenced by Tenaska’s participation.
7.3 Membership in CCS Advocacy Organizations
Tenaska has joined several organizations whose purposes include support and advocacy for carbon capture and storage initiatives, including:
- the Texas Carbon Capture and Storage Association (www.txccsa.org/);
- the Clean Coal Technology Foundation of Texas (www.cctft.org/);
- the North American Carbon Capture and Storage Association (www.naccsa.org/);
- the Coal Utilization Research Council (www.coal.org);
- the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (www.cleancoalusa.org); and
- the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (www.globalccsinstitute.com).
Tenaska is committed to working with these groups at the state, national and international level to support the continued use of coal to generate electricity in an environmentally responsible manner.