A leading academic has described those “gloating” over the struggles of Kemper CCS plant as “foolish”.
William Shugart, research director at the Independent Institute was clear about the importance of carbon capture technology.
He said: “Despite Kemper’s woes, the carbon capture and storage technology it was developing remains absolutely essential to reducing global carbon dioxide emissions.”
The IEA also recently said that the failure of the Kemper project was not due to the carbon capture element. The IEA’s chief economist Laszlo Varro said: “CO2 capture was not the issue for Kemper. The issue was that the rapid scale up of a new IGCC technology from pilot to a 585 MW plant proved to be far more complex and challenging than anticipated.”
Shugart highlighted a recent report saying that 1600 coal fired power plants are either planned or under construction across the world. He said: “Fossil fuels are here to stay. So if the world is to reduce emissions, it’s going to take more Kemper projects and major breakthroughs in carbon capture and storage, even if the initial projects come up short.”
Carbon capture enjoys bipartisan support. Recently Senators from both the Democrats and the Republicans formed a group to reintroduce a bill supporting carbon capture and storage. Energy Secretaries Moniz and Chu under President Obama both also support carbon capture.
In conclusion Shugart said: “Carbon taxes and climate treaties are worthless without the technology needed to ensure affordable, reliable and low-emissions power generation.
“So don’t celebrate Kemper’s failure. It’s only a speed bump, not an insurmountable barrier, on the road to clean coal.”