Insights and Commentaries

Insights and Commentaries

Carbon capture strengthens its position in the global clean energy discussion

18th May 2018

Topic(s): law and regulation, Policy

On May 24 at the ninth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM9) in Copenhagen, Denmark, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouilette launched the Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) Initiative and the Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy (NICE) Future initiative as major collective efforts for CEM members moving forward.  The CEM is an international forum of 25 countries and the European Commission to advance clean energy deployment. 

Since its inception, the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) has focused on renewables and energy efficiency.  Carbon capture has played at the edges of the conferences, with side events featuring the technology, but has been absent from the main stage.  Now, however, because of the growing acknowledgement of its necessary role in global decarbonisation to keep the earth below 2° global warming and significant efforts by several leading countries, CCUS has a seat at the CEM table.  

The initiative by CEM will focus on educating the financial sector about the necessity of CCUS to enable a global clean energy mix that will help all nations meet their energy and industrial power needs.  Much of the sustainable finance sector has shied away from CCUS in favor of renewables and require education of the importance of a combined approach with renewables and CCUS to decarbonise fossil fuels.  Similarly, the initiative hopes to educate organizations across the private, public, and non-profits sectors about CCUS and foster collaborative partnerships to drive execution of new CCUS projects.

In a press release announcing the initiative, the DOE noted efforts by the Global CCS Institute, International Energy Agency (IEA), and others that have been critical in gaining momentum for CCUS.  The release also highlighted global collaboration with Norway, Saudi Arabia, Canada, China, Japan, the UK, and other nations. 

“Both the NICE Future Initiative and the CCUS initiative will not only help our environment and our economies but will also add to the New Energy Realism of the future – a world driven by innovation,” said Deputy Secretary Brouillette.  This statement underscores DOE’s commitment to CCUS as a necessary strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from not only energy production but also other industrial activities.

This announcement comes on the heels of the FUTURE Act, a potentially game-changing US policy that provides a significant tax incentive for permanent CO2 storage, approved by the U.S. Congress in February 2018.  Taken together these two actions demonstrate US continued engagement in CCUS innovation and deployment for energy security while meetings its goals of lowering emissions. 

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