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Business Initiatives

CARB Approves Cap and Trade

Today, the California Air Resources Board(CARB) met to consider final adoption of a proposed cap and trade program that is part of the state’s implementation of AB 32. CARB approved the cap and trade program by a unanimous vote. At a public hearing in August, CARB reviewed and heard testimony on the Functional Equivalent Document(FED). CARB has now posted its response to the comments of the FED on its website, and reviewed them during today’s hearing. The cap and trade plan will cover 85% percent of California’s emissions. Beginning in 2013 the plan places emission allowances on California’s power plants, refineries, cement plants and other high polluting facilities in the state. Other facilities won’t be part of the program until 2015.

The cap and trade program will require polluters to buy allowances from the state. The allowances represent a specific amount of greenhouse gases per year. The allowances can be bought or sold in the marketplace. If a company has extra allowances, because they were able to reduce emissions, they are able to sell their allowances to companies that failed to cut emissions or in fact increased their emission levels. In order to allow companies to gradually get used to the program, 90 percent of the allowances will be free in the first years of the program. Companies may also purchase carbon offsets, which are investments projects that reduce greenhouse gases. Companies can use these offsets to account for 8% of their emissions reductions.

Full-Scale CCS Project Put on Hold by AEP

July 15, 2011 11:28 AM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Business Initiatives, Carbon Capture & Storage/Sequestration

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been deemed a technology that can help fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; however, it has had trouble getting off the ground. The cost of CCS, legal issues, lack of state and federal policy and lack of knowledge among the general public about the technology has prevented corporations from moving forward with it. Now a major corporation has pulled the plug, at least temporarily, on a full-scale project.

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New CO2 Storage Site Selected

March 1, 2011 3:53 PM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Business Initiatives, Carbon Capture & Storage/Sequestration

Yesterday, the FutureGen Alliance, a coalition of seven coal companies, selected a new storage site for its carbon capture and storage project.  Selecting the new storage site in Morgan County, Illinois, was a critical next step for the project after the previous site in Mattoon, Illinois, pulled out of the agreement in August 2010.

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SEC Climate Guidance Now Available

February 3, 2010 10:10 AM | Posted by max.zygmont@alston.com | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, Business Initiatives

As a follow-up to last week's blog regarding the SEC's decision to issue guidance regarding disclosures related to climate change, the text of the guidance is now publicly available here: http://www.sec.gov/rules/interp/2010/33-9106.pdf.

SEC to Issue Climate Change Disclosure Guidance

January 27, 2010 4:03 PM | Posted by max.zygmont@alston.com | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, Business Initiatives

Today, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission voted 3-2 to issue guidance for how publicly traded companies should handle reporting related to climate change.  The SEC considered and approved “a recommendation to publish an interpretive release to provide guidance to public companies regarding the Commission's current disclosure requirements concerning matters relating to climate change.”

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Michigan Issues Air Permit for Coal Plant

January 4, 2010 2:06 PM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Business Initiatives, Carbon Capture & Storage/Sequestration

The Michigan State Department of Environmental Quality has issued an air permit for a new coal fired power plant. The new $2 billion, 830 MW plant designed by Consumer Energy will be built so that carbon capture and storage technology can be added in the future. Consumer Energy plans to retire five older plants once this plant is online and operational, which many expect to be in 2017. Robert McCann of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said, “You're taking some of the oldest and most antiquated plants out of production. We’ll see a significant reduction in emissions.”

United States Commits to Funding

December 17, 2009 3:45 PM | Posted by max.zygmont@alston.com | Topic(s): International Policy/Programs, Business Initiatives, Energy Policy

As the international climate change talks in Copenhagen began slow over the issues of financing for and commitments by developing countries, the United States made a move that may help end the stalemate.  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech committing the United States to contributing, in some form or fashion, $100 billion per year by 2020 to support developing countries' efforts to reduce emissions. 

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Clean Power MOU Signed

December 2, 2009 11:16 AM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Business Initiatives, Carbon Capture & Storage/Sequestration

About two weeks ago, the United States and China entered into a clean-tech agreement.  As part of the agreement, GE and the Shenhua Group signed a memorandum of understanding.  The two companies will form a joint venture company aimed at improving costs and performance of gasification and integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) technologies.  This agreement will include the research and deployment of IGCC plants with carbon capture.  The joint venture is expected to be finalized in the first half of 2010.

DOE Awards CCS Funding from Stimulus

October 6, 2009 2:03 PM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, Business Initiatives, Carbon Capture & Storage/Sequestration

Late last week, DOE Secretary Steven Chu announced funding for 12 carbon capture and storage projects from the stimulus package.  The 12 projects were awarded $21.6 million from the stimulus package and an additional $22.5 million in private investment will help with the first phase of the projects. The 12 projects will take place in Washington, Texas, Michigan, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, Connecticut and Utah.  The most promising of the 12 projects will receive portions of the remaining $1.4 billion in funding for design, construction and operation for the technology.

Sequestration Field Test Begins in West Virginia

September 9, 2009 3:44 PM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, Business Initiatives, Carbon Capture & Storage/Sequestration

Yesterday, DOE began a “first-of-a-kind field trial” for injecting carbon dioxide in West Virginia.  The field trial features enhanced coalbed methane recovery (ECBM) with simultaneous CO2 sequestration in an unmineable coal seam.  The trial is being run by CONSOL Energy, West Virginia University and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).  Researchers plan to “inject CO2 at a pressure of up to 700 pounds per square inch and a rate of about 27 short tons per day over the next 2 years.”  On top of the injection activities, a number of monitoring activities will take place during the injection process and for two years after it has been completed.

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