Issue Date: July 18, 2011
Utility Stops Carbon Capture Project
A major electricity company, American Electric Power (AEP), has halted one of the most successful programs to develop a commercial-scale coal-fired power plant that utilizes carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) technology. The company blames the uncertain state of U.S. climate policy and the weak economy. “We are placing the project on hold until economic and policy conditions create a viable path forward,” Michael G. Morris, AEP chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. In 2009, the Department of Energy chose AEP to receive up to $334 million through the Clean Coal Power Initiative to partly pay for a CCS system at a coal-powered plant in West Virginia. AEP has terminated that agreement. The system was to capture approximately 1.5 million metric tons of CO2 per year and inject it underground for permanent storage. The project was to be done in four phases, but AEP has informed DOE that it will complete only the first phase, which includes front-end engineering and design, analysis of the environmental impact, and development of detailed Phase II and Phase III schedules.
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