• Brattle Group study finds value of CCS-equipped baseload power generation will increase as penetration of renewables grows

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Multi-disciplinary consultancy firm The Brattle Group has released highlights of its study of the economics of carbon capture and storage for power utilities. It foresees that, in the US context, while CCS installations for fossil fuel-fired power stations would sometimes struggle to compete on financial terms compared to renewables where there are not high shares of renewables, as shares of renewables become higher, the value of CCS-equipped baseload power stations will also increase. (Despite this, there are already circumstances where CCS is economically viable, especially with the availability in the US of tax credits.) The study notes, however, that there are “considerable uncertainties regarding the cost, performance, and circumstances for many emerging non-intermittent clean power, all of which appear similarly untested. Utilities will need to evaluate the trade-offs of competing technologies to ensure cost-effective deep decarbonisation as opportunities will vary regionally.” It goes on to state that to discount CCS based on present-day economics would be short-sighted, particularly because it risks failing to develop the technology such that it readily available for when its value increases. Overall, the study estimates, using CCS and other emerging technologies will mean long-term power costs between 10-60% cheaper than if only renewables and storage was used. The report goes into some detail in different aspects of the process of CCS, and also considers retrofits against new builds, making it a resource worth reading.