Coal should become obsolete because renewable energy is getting cheaper, but the US government is keeping it afloat with a promise to capture and store carbon emissions underground. Now, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said federal agencies have spent $684 billion on carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects that have mostly failed, Gizmodo It has been reported. It also spent $438 million on three other industrial carbon dioxide capture and storage projects, two of which have been cancelled.
Ministry of Energy [Department of Energy] It provided nearly $684 million for eight coal projects, resulting in one operating facility, “according to a Government Accountability Office report.” The Department of Energy’s process for selecting coal projects and negotiating financing agreements has increased the risk that the Department of Energy may fund projects that are unlikely to succeed.”
The Department of Energy’s process for selecting coal projects and negotiating financing agreements has increased the risk that the Department of Energy may fund projects that are unlikely to succeed.
Not only did the Department of Energy use a “high-risk selection” approach to selecting projects, it negotiated and financed them very quickly, according to the report. The coal negotiations took only three months instead of the usual year “based on the Department of Energy’s desire to begin spending the 2009 Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds quickly.” Moreover, it went beyond the usual cost controls and supported the projects “although they did not achieve the required milestones”.
The Department of Energy recently said it wants to significantly reduce the cost of carbon capture technology through a program called Carbon Negative Shot. The goal is to remove carbon dioxide directly from the air, sequester it underground at a cost of less than $100 per ton, and diffuse it at the gigaton scale.
However, the easiest and cheapest way to cut gigatonnes of emissions is to stop expensive coal plants altogether, according to a report last year by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). That’s because renewable energy costs have fallen in the past decade, making it cheaper than coal. Of course, adding carbon capture and storage technology to coal would greatly increase costs. All that said, coal and fossil fuels are a charged political topic in the United States, despite the global risks of climate change.
Ultimately, the Government Accountability Office recommended more oversight in Congress of the Department of Energy’s expenditures on carbon dioxide capture and storage. “In the absence of such a mechanism, the Department of Energy is at risk of spending significant money on CCS pilot projects that have little prospect of success.”
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