CCS plant dies a political death in US

The news that the major US utility American Electric Power is to abandon one of the world’s most advanced carbon capture and storage pilots is a serious blow for global ambitions to limit global temperature rises to 2° Celsius.

The project, to build a full-scale CCS plant at one of its coal-fired power stations in West Virginia, has died as a result of the Obama administration’s failure to get a climate-change bill through Congress in the face of Republican party opposition. The lack of a policy framework left the company unable to recover the costs of CCS from consumers. Other utilities are unlikely to proceed with CCS in the absence of legislation. Given the inevitability of continuing coal use, this deals a heavy blow both to emission-reduction efforts and to US aspirations to be a leader in this essential technology.