Appalachian Power Weighs in on Carbon Capture

Earlier this year The Highlands Voice was home to a mini debate on the usefulness of carbon capture and storage as a tool to slow climate change.  The December, 2021, January, 2022, and February, 2022, issues all had letters or stories on the topic.  Judging by the Voice contributors, the score is now 2-1 against.  Now Appalachian Power has weighed in.

            Carbon Capture and Storage is a technology that adds equipment to industrial facilities (mostly power plants).  The equipment is supposed to extract carbon dioxide from the exhausts of the facilities.  The carbon dioxide is then either used for some industrial purpose or stored deep underground.

            The pro side of the carbon capture and storage is that there are some situations where there is no good alternative to the production of carbon dioxide.  For those situations, we need to be able to capture the carbon dioxide.  The con side is that it is too expensive and, in spite of substantial public subsidies, has never been shown to work.

            Now Appalachian Power has told West Virginia’s Public Energy Authority that it has been there, done that, and doesn’t want to try it again.  Chris Beam, its president and chief operating officer, told the Public Energy Authority that it had tried the technology, had lost a lot of money doing it, and had little enthusiasm for doing it again.

         An Appalachian Power plant was part of a United States Department of Energy funded program from 2009 to 2011.  It withdrew from the program after the initial phase.

         Mr. Beam offered the opinion that the technology needs to improve to the point that it does not require so much energy to extract the carbon dioxide.