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CCS cheaper than rooftop solar, says US energy expert

22nd February 2017

A leading US energy expert has called for greater investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, claiming that it can provide electricity at less than a third of the cost of rooftop solar panels. Julio Friedmann, an advisor to former US president Barack Obama’s administration, believes that excluding the technology from clean energy options will only increase the cost of reducing emissions. He cites research from financial advisory firm Lazard that found the cost of energy from a natural gas or coal plant with CCS at US6¢-US12¢ per kilowatt hour, compared with US18¢-US30¢/kWh for rooftop solar, US18¢for offshore wind, and US10¢-18¢ for nuclear.

CCS, a technology that involves extracting carbon from emissions from power and industrial plants and reusing it or disposing of it underground, can cut greenhouse emissions by 90 per cent or more. However, despite $2.2 trillion being spent on renewable energy projects around the world over the last decade, only $20 billion was spent on CCS during the same period. “The issue is not costs, it’s finance,” said Friedmann, a senior adviser for energy innovation at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. “There is no mechanism around the world today by which one can recoup an investment in a CCS plant.”

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