Saturday, February 22, 2020

Sen. Street Announces Bill Package To Transition From AEPS To New Clean Energy Standard With Carbon Capture

On February 18, Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) announced he will be introducing a package of bills to, among other things, amend the state's Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards to create a new Clean Energy Standard that includes carbon capture as a major element.
Sen. Street said, in 2021 Pennsylvania will have to reauthorize the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act which will give us an opportunity to transition from AEPS to creating a new Clean Energy Standard with carbon capture as an important part of a new tier system.
The tier system will look similar to AEPS, with renewable energy sources singularly in Tier 1. Tier 2 can consist of carbon capture technology, nuclear technology, and other zero carbon energy sources to create an innovative and competitive new market with carbon capture playing an integral role.
[Note: Clean Energy Standards refers to setting a technology-neutral standard for energy that comes from sources that do not emit any carbon, low amounts or compensates for carbon emissions through techniques like carbon capture and sequestration.  An AEPS approach sets the specific types of energy sources that qualify as “alternative” or “renewable.” Find more background in a PA Environmental Council white paper.]
Carbon Capture
“Most policy discussion around ending the threat of climate change has been framed by techniques to reduce the amount of GHG that is emitted into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels for transportation, industry, and electric generation,” said Sen. Street.
“While a worthy endeavor, this is only part of the solution. It is imperative that we use all options available to us to tackle this challenge and growing threat.
“Rather than solely focusing on the prevention of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere, there are ways to remove it from the atmosphere and safely store it, so it does not affect the global climate.
“GHG in the atmosphere can be captured, or sequestered, through several different methods, and there are multiple actions that we can take today to incentivize practices by individuals, local governments, businesses, and farmers, to support best practices and new technologies to capture and store GHG that would otherwise be left in the atmosphere.
“One of the easiest ways of removing GHG from the atmosphere is to plant more trees. Trees consume CO2 as part of their normal growing process, cleaning the air of GHG and storing carbon in the wood of the tree itself.
“By implementing a bold plan to plant millions of new trees in the commonwealth, enacting best practices for the management of our public forests, and incentivizing private forest owners to not develop their lands and to expand their canopy of trees, we can reduce the amount of GHG in the atmosphere.
“Another approach is to incentivize the investment in carbon capture utilization and sequestration technology that will reduce emissions from power plants, and from industrial facilities like cement and steel manufacturers.
“This technology can also remove CO2 from the air and either store it safely underground or process it into useful products. Implementing these technologies would create high paying technical jobs trained by the Pennsylvania academic institutions and skilled labor jobs that have the strong support of many building trades unions across the Commonwealth.
[Note: Act 129 of 2008 directed the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to study the issue of carbon capture and underground storage of carbon dioxide.  A series of reports were produced on geological carbon sequestration opportunities in Pennsylvania, assessment of risk, legal issues and insurance and viability of a large-scale carbon capture and sequestration network in the state.
[The reports found there would need to be several significant changes in law to make large-scale carbon capture and sequestration feasible in the Commonwealth.
[Click Here for more on how DCNR is addressing Climate Change on Public Lands.]
“If we are going to seriously tackle the problem of climate change, we must come at the problem from all angles. 
“While there have been a lot of good policy proposals to transition our economy to one based on renewable energy consumption, we must also do what we can to proactively remove GHG from the atmosphere. 
“This package of bills will do that with an ambitious tree planting and forest management program and investments in carbon capture and storage technology through a Clean Energy Standard.”
[Posted: February 22, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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