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The Capture-Committed Power Plant

Moving coal forward requires a clear path to CCS.

Fortnightly Magazine - December 2008

in a carbon-constrained future. To ensure this power generation doesn’t contribute to climate change, a bridge must be built over the gap between the current plants built without CCS and future plants that will be built from the start with CCS. Capture-ready plants have been proposed as that bridge, but that approach gives assurance that many deem inadequate that CCS will actually be implemented. Capture-committed plants can provide that needed assurance, and get the coal-fired power industry moving toward sustainable future.



1. See, for example, Energy Technology Perspectives , 2008, International Energy Agency, OECD/IEA, Paris, France, June 2008.

2. Price J., “Sequestration Ready Power Plants,” presentation to IEA Asia-Pacific Zero Emissions Technologies Conference, Gold Coast, Australia, February 2004.

3. “Clean Power,” NRDC’s China Clean Energy Project, Natural Resources Defense Council, December 2004:



6. Ram C., Sekar R.C., Parsons J.E., and Jacoby H.D., Future Carbon Regulations and Current Investments in Alternative Coal-Fired Plant Designs , MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, 2005.

7. CO2 Capture Ready Plants, Technical Study, Report Number 2007/4 , IEA Greenhouse Gas Programme.

8. Hawkins D.G., “CCS: Let’s Just Do It,” Presentation to the Sixth Annual Conference on Carbon Capture & Sequestration, Pittsburgh, May 2007.

9. Hawkins D.G. and Bachu S., “Deployment of large-scale CO 2 geological storage: Do we know enough to start now?” GHGT-7, June 2006.

10. This concept is similar to a proposal that has been made for “capture options” for coal-fired power plants in China, but has the advantage over that proposal of ensuring the availability of financing of CCS and its implementation by a specified date. See Xi Liang, Gibbons J., Reiner D., “Financing Capture Ready Coal-Fired Power Plants by issuing Capture Options,” EPRG 0728 & CWPE 0761 , December 2007.

11. Pena N. and Rubin E.J., “A Trust Fund Approach to Accelerating Deployment of CCS: Options and Considerations,” Coal Initiative Reports, White Paper Series , Pew Center on Global Climate Change, January 2008.

12. See

13. The Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) Technical Group has developed procedures for estimating storage capacity. The CSLF is an international initiative focused on the development of CCS. The governments of 21 countries and the European Commission are members of the CSLF. Information about these capacity storage estimation procedures can be found on the CSLF website. See the documents of the Task Force for Review and Identification of Standards for CO 2 Storage Capacity Estimation at

14 . Several independent studies have confirmed the need for such demonstrations. These include, notably, the European Commission’s Zero Emissions Platform and the experts convened by the IEA and Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum to make recommendations to the G8 and the IEA.

15. Storage of Carbon Dioxide in Geologic Structures, A Legal and Regulatory Guide for States and Provinces , Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, September 2007.

16. See