photo via Flickr
Many are skeptical that Carbon Capture and Sequestration is a solution to climate change. The argument goes that coal can never be clean, and the costs and risks of storing carbon pollution deep underground makes CCS a false solution. The skeptics may now be joined by Southern Co., which is pulling out of an almost $700 million dollar CCS project in Alabama. The demonstration project was to be cited at Southern's Plant Barry, and it was earmarked for about $295 million in federal stimulus funding through the Energy Department's Clean Coal Power Initiative. Had it been built, it would have captured 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually from a 160-megawatt flue gas stream and then store in underground rock formations.
Southern spokesman Steve Higginbottom told EE News:
"It's really about the efficient deployment of resources. Really, we felt it was in the best interest of our customers and shareholders to not move forward with the expanded CCS project at Plant Barry."
He added, "The current economic conditions also factored into the decision."
Southern says it will continue to invest in CCS. President Obama backs CCS, having recently his Administration's goal of bring five to 10 commercial CCS demonstrations online by 2016. It's worth repeating that there are no large scale CCS projects online in the US.