One potential method of addressing GHG emissions is to capture those emissions and sequester them in geological reservoirs. Carbon sequestration may offer a key tool to address carbon emissions because a large percentage of U.S. and Canadian GHG emissions originate from the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity and in industrial applications. Geological Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) refers to the process of capturing CO2 and transporting it through pipelines to a site where it is stored underground.
All of the component technologies to implement CCS are already available (e.g. technologies for carbon capture, transporting CO2, and injecting CO2 into geologic formations); however, integrating existing technologies and applying them at a larger scale remains a challenge. Currently, CO2 captured from man-made sources is only a small percentage of that which is being used and sequestered underground through enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR). The vast majority of CO2 currently used comes from naturally occurring sources, and anthropogenic CO2 is under-utilized in this realm. Utilizing captured CO2 in EOR thus presents a mechanism to support the broader deployment of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology in North America because CO2 capture projects can sell captured CO2 for use and sequestration in EOR.
Participants in the Sequestration Working Group will explore the regulatory, technical, and policy issues surrounding CO2 capture and geologic sequestration, and will explore ways to improve understanding of CCS and CO2-EOR among policymakers. State-level policy can help address many challenges related the broader deployment of CCS and CO2-EOR. In addition to establishing a regulatory framework for CCS and CO2-EOR projects, states can provide incentives, financial or non-financial, to promote the development of CCS and CO2-EOR. This group aims to improve the current patchwork approach taken by states to enable certainty both for industry and for regulators crafting new policies. This group is doing this by preparing a paper on state-level policy action to address regulatory and economic barriers to CCS and CO2-EOR; organizing briefings, webinars, and/or research papers; reviewing existing and proposed regulations; and reviewing CO2 emissions reduction accounting methodologies.