Mandatory caps on CO2 to stimulate the carbon capture technology

The US Government needs mandatory caps on CO2 to stimulate the deployment of carbon capture and storage technology, according to the US Senate Energy Committee Chair. Even though the US power sector and government are looking into CCS technologies, the policy to stimulate deployment needs work, Senator Jeff Bingaman said. “The first and most important incentive for carbon capture is to have mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions. No one will undertake the added cost of a CCS system unless emitting CO2 has an economic cost attached to it,” Bingaman said. But Bingaman also pointed out several “flaws in the way we are approaching the potential regulation of CCS sites”, mostly pertaining to distribution of authority over regulations. So far, the US Environmental Protection Agency is running the rule-making for carbon storage in the US, having initiated regulatory proposals governing use of injection wells to be used for carbon storage. But Bingaman said that “other agencies than EPA have important and necessary expertise related to site selection and permitting” around CCS, pointing to the energy and interior departments, as well as the US geological survey. Those other departments and agencies, Bingaman argued, have more experience working with complex geologic systems, in permitting storage sites on public lands and in conducting energy-related government-funded technology pilot projects. Bingaman also questioned the EPA’s timeline, pointing out that agency officials had promised his committee a regulatory proposal will be ready this summer and that final rules for carbon storage are due “sometime in 2011”. Bingaman proposed a cap-and-trade bill last year for the US.