In a final report released last week, a review panel consisting of experts from industry, trade groups, academia and an environmental organization concluded that there was a public benefit to utilizing carbon capture and storage (CCS) for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in California. CCS refers to the capture, or removal, of CO2 emissions from power plants and other industrial sources, and the compression, transportation, and injection of it into the subsurface. Among other things, the report also emphasized the need for clear and efficient regulatory requirements and authority for implementing and monitoring CCS.
Since the passage of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 aka AB 32, California has been focused on reducing statewide GHG emission levels. These efforts include the California Air Resources Board’s recent adoption of cap and trade regulations. The panel, created last February by the California Energy Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and the California Air Resources Board, was tasked with reviewing CCS policy and developing recommendations for creating legislation and regulations for CCS in California.
The challenges to implementing such a program are multi-faceted, and include determining how CCS should be permitted, monitored and accounted for in California’s climate change regulations. The panel’s recommendations are merely a starting point in dealing with these issues. As said by CPUC President Michael R. Peevey, “This is an important first step in providing the pathway for geologic carbon sequestration projects in California while ensuring safety and proper stewardship for our natural resources. CCS is a necessary tool to address climate change and reduce emissions during the transition to non emitting sources of energy over the coming decades.” One thing is clear, California will soon be adopting more legislation and regulations to address GHG emissions.