Key CO2 Capture Project Is Suspended by Major U.S. Utility

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The U.S.’s most ambitious project to capture and sequester carbon from a coal-fired power plant has been shelved by a large utility company, which says that the lack of climate legislation and support from state governments has rendered the $668 million project financially untenable.

American Electric Power (AEP), which serves 5 million customers in 11 states, will announce today that it is indefinitely suspending its carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) project at its Mountaineer plant in West Virginia.

The utility has been running a smaller CCS pilot project at the site for two years, but executives at the utility said that the lack of federal climate legislation had diminished incentives for CCS projects.

In addition, AEP said that the refusal of state regulators to allow the utility to pass on the cost of carbon sequestration to its customers had made it impossible to continue the project.

“We are placing the project on hold until economic and policy conditions create a viable path forward,” said AEP’s chairman, Michael G. Morris.

AEP’s action is a major setback to efforts to slow global warming using CCS technology, which faces numerous logistical and technological challenges.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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