Report: Carbon Capture Adds 50%+ To Power Cost

A new report from Pike Research of Colorado says the addition of carbon capture systems to power plants will add 50% to 70% to the cost of creating electricity for existing and future plants.

The report, titled “Carbon Capture and Sequestration: Drivers and Barriers, Technology Issues, Key Industry Players, Market Analysis and Forecasts,” adds that such increases in costs will be initially underwritten by governments but gradually passed on to ratepayers.

The report will be a wakeup call to many on the potential of such systems, which are targeted at large-scale projects and coal-fired power plants in particular, the latter accounting for half of the world’s energy-related CO2 emissions.

Pike estimates that the CCS industry will grow to revenue of $221.5 billion by 2030. The margins, however, will be low, hovering “close to zero,” and “even over the longer term, the CCS industry, heavily subsidized and equally heavily regulated, will produce relatively low profits. In addition, margins will vary widely along the vertical chain of CCS, from capture to transport to geological storage.”

However, as the report notes, predicting the future profitability is guesswork, since the price of carbon emissions (i.e, the penalties for emitting too much) “will likely be set initially by government fiat and, over the longer term, market forces that are impossible to predict with confidence.”

The full report is available for purchase by contacting: sales (at) pikeresearch (dot) com

[photo credit: Library of Congress]

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2 comments on “Report: Carbon Capture Adds 50%+ To Power Cost

Karen Teeters

I know this report is intended to talk about the realities of carbon capture and how it affects economics. But it just makes me think that it is too bad the price of oil went down after the problem we had in the seventies. If the cost stayed up, possibly all the “talk” about investing in alternative energies would have created a real industry that by now would be providing low cost energy to all. I am all for spending money and energy on businesses that are now creating alternative energy and it makes me hopping mad when I hear that large energy companies are suppressing and have suppressed this kind of research and development. Maybe Tesla was correct and there is free energy to be obtained from the earth. Would that be so bad? Who do we have to become in this world to finally spend our energies on efforts that will help us all, not just the rich and their big company – global company bottomline profit efforts?


I really do not think the actual power is as high as 50%. I do know, that for a recent 110MW plant project, the energy to run the scrubbers was estimated at 20Mw, a bit less than 20% of the total output.

However, the entire program to install carbon scrubbers in the Nation’s coal fired power plants boils down to regulation. The power companies are required to reduce carbon emissions. There are costs associated with it, and those costs are reduced output from those plants along with the capital spending to perform the retrofits.

We cannot really fault the power companies since they are just reacting to public policy. Yes it costs money, and yes there may better ways to do it. But, with the capital costs and time needed for these large scale projects, the focus is on achieving the desired results; not achieving the most efficient output.

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