Rockefeller, Voinovich Introduce Carbon Capture and Storage Deployment Act of 2010

A Comprehensive Bill Promoting CCS Deployment and Creating Jobs

July 14, 2010

SCom: InnovationWASHINGTON, D.C.—Today Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Senator George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) unveiled the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Deployment Act of 2010. This bipartisan legislation promotes research and creates incentives to develop and deploy full scale CCS technologies for a strong energy future. In March of this year, Senators Rockefeller and Voinovich released a discussion draft of the legislation.

“West Virginia is one of the leading coal-producers in our country; our coal miners keep the lights on in so many American homes and provide nearly half the electricity to this country. This bipartisan legislation represents the next generation of our energy economy—one that invests in clean coal and CCS technologies, and keeps America less reliant on foreign fuel sources,” said Senator Rockefeller. “Senator Voinovich and I understand that if America is going to remain competitive, we must have a real plan to invest in carbon capture and storage—so coal continues to play an effective role well into the future.” 

“Reliable and affordable energy is the lifeblood of a vibrant economy. In fact, Ohio’s position as a manufacturing center is largely attributable to its historical access to a readily available, low-cost energy supply. Coal is our nation’s most abundant and affordable domestic source of energy – it is vital that we find innovative ways to move cleaner coal forward and create much needed jobs,” Senator Voinovich said. “Ohio uses coal for over 85 percent of its energy and the United States could meet its energy demands for 250 years with the available domestic coal. Our legislation arms the private sector with the tools to promote domestic advanced energy sources and cultivate job growth. I look forward to working with my partner, Senator Rockefeller, to move technologies like CCS forward.”

The bill introduced today represents the first ever comprehensive approach to realizing widespread deployment of CCS technologies. It builds on past efforts and proposals while creating new bridges to cover the gap between research and development (R&D) and commercial adoption. The legislation has five tenets:

  • CCS Innovation Program – The program will authorize a cooperative industry-government research and development program in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy to spur additional CCS-related research and development. The goal of this program will be to demonstrate new and innovative technologies to capture, use or store carbon dioxide. Industry partners would be required to match up to 20 percent of the government’s investment. This program would enhance existing DOE efforts led by the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, West Virginia. Additionally, DOE would be required to report annually on the fossil energy program, the state of CCS deployment, and recommendations to speed technology deployment. DOE’s efforts would be reviewed annually by the Government Accountability Office.
  • CCS Pioneer Program – The ‘Pioneer Phase’ of the plan calls for the deployment of 20 gigawatts (GW) of CCS capacity. During this initial phase of investment, early technology developers may face technological and economic risks with the deployment of CCS technologies. The incentives, including a self-financed $20 billion fund, in this title are designed to alleviate these risks and spur rapid deployment of CCS systems and equipment.
  • CCS Early Adopter Program – Following the ‘Pioneer Phase’ of development, the technological risks associated with CCS should be retired but operational incentives would be required to mitigate the economic risks. The bill would provide tax credits based on the amount of carbon dioxide captured at facilities, providing price certainty for investors in power plants and industrial facilities.
  • Technology Standard for Power Plants – After CCS technology is deployed on the first 10 GW of generating capacity, the next phase of deployment would require power plants permitted between bill enactment and completion of the pioneer program to be retrofitted with the demonstrated CCS technology.
  • Long-term Stewardship and Liability – Senators Rockefeller and Voinovich spent months working with a diverse group of stakeholders to develop a proposal that provides a stable legal and regulatory framework for various stages of the projects during operation and post-closure. The absence of such a framework has been a significant barrier discouraging private sector investment in CCS technologies.

The development of CCS technology is critical to meeting the energy and environmental objectives of the United States. Much of the current coal fleet must be replaced by cleaner forms of energy to advance into the future. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) the United States has the most coal of any nation in the world at 239 billion tons. Based on domestic resources, EIA estimates that the United States can meet the current domestic energy demand for more than 250 years at the current rate of consumption. This legislation will spur private sector development and innovation of clean technologies to dramatically reduce air pollution and capture and store greenhouse gases.

 For a copy of the legislative language click here.