Department of Energy

The Role of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage in Forming a Low-Carbon Economy

May 21, 2018

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This week, I am excited to continue the conversation surrounding clean energy initiatives during my trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, to participate in the 9th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM9).

This event provides the world’s top energy officials and private-sector leaders the opportunity to discuss various policies and programs that will help foster and advance the growth of clean energy technologies.

One such technology with enormous clean energy potential is carbon capture, utilization, and storage—commonly called CCUS. Last year, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry called CCUS one of the most effective ways for allowing the United States to continue using its abundant fossil fuel resources, while also protecting the environment, and proposed including CCUS in international clean energy discussions.

At a meeting hosted by the International Energy Agency last year, Secretary Perry also said, “I don’t believe you can have a real conversation about clean energy without including CCUS. The United States understands the importance of this clean technology and its vital role in the future of energy production.”

In order to move toward a global low-carbon economy, countries across the world will need to commit to further advancing and deploying CCUS technologies.

Petra Nova in Texas is the world’s largest post-combustion carbon capture system, capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by burning coal for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR).
Petra Nova in Texas is the world’s largest post-combustion carbon capture system, capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by burning coal for use in enhanced oil recovery.

CCUS Initiative

During CEM9 this year, the United States, Norway, and Saudi Arabia will launch a new CCUS initiative – to advance global collaboration on carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies.

Other international partners that have joined this initiative include Canada, China, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States; as well as the European Commission.

The CCUS initiative will focus on strengthening the framework for building collaborative partnerships on CCUS between the public and private sectors. It will also bolster and complement existing CCUS efforts led by the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the IEA’s Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme, Mission Innovation, and the Global CCS Institute.

As a critical technology used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fueled power plants and other industrial activities, CCUS also helps to provide energy security by securing energy diversity and furthering investments made in existing infrastructure. CCUS is an important priority for the United States and the Trump Administration because it is a key ingredient in meeting our goals of lowering emissions while also stimulating our economy, ensuring our energy security, and protecting our health.

However, greater investments will be needed worldwide in order to fully develop and deploy CCUS as a truly effective means of lowering emissions from industrial processes and coal- and gas-fired power generation plants.

This is why following through on this joint CCUS initiative is so critical. Through this initiative, we hope to foster greater international collaboration as we work together to shape policies that will advance CCUS as part of a prosperous low-carbon economy.