Senior Alstom Executive & Climate Policy Expert Cites Carbon Capture & Storage as Viable, Cost Competitive and Essential

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Alstom executive Joan MacNaughton today outlined the critical role of carbon capture and storage in the global push to lower CO2 emissions.

Joan MacNaughton, Alstom Senior Vice President for Power & Environmental Policies

Joan MacNaughton, Alstom Senior Vice President for Power & Environmental Policies

Now is the time to chart a clear policy course because without CCS in place, it will be all but impossible to achieve a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Alstom Senior Vice President for Power and Environment Policies Joan MacNaughton today emphasized that a clear and consistent carbon mitigation policy and regulatory framework is vital to the development and commercialization of Carbon Capture and Storage technology, or CCS. Speaking before an audience at the United States Energy Association, MacNaughton also presented findings from a recently-conducted cost analysis showing that the cost of electricity generated by coal and natural gas plants equipped with CCS is competitive with other low or no-carbon energy sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydro and nuclear.

With forecasts showing fossil fuels, and coal in particular, accounting for the majority of global power generation through at least 2035, CCS has been cited as a near-term means to curb greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.

“In 2009, officials from the U.S. Department of Energy and the International Energy Agency agreed that meeting global climate goals would require having 100 CCS plants operational by 2020, and expanding that to 3,400 by 2050,” said MacNaughton. “At the close of 2010, governments have committed support in principle for just over 20 large-scale projects. The technology is advancing, but the policy needed to drive commercialization is lacking. Now is the time to chart a clear policy course because without CCS in place, it will be all but impossible to achieve a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

While a handful of CCS demonstration projects are underway in several countries, American Electric Power (AEP) recently cited uncertain policy as a contributing factor in its decision to postpone a commercial-scale deployment of Alstom’s chilled ammonia carbon capture process at its Mountaineer power station in New Haven, West Virginia.

“AEP’s decision to put Mountaineer II on-hold is a bellwether to our leaders on the consequences of uncertain climate policy,” added MacNaughton. “The Validation Plant at Mountaineer demonstrated the ability to capture up to 90% of the carbon dioxide from a stream of the plant’s emissions. The technology works. But without clear policies in place outlining options for cost recovery, power generators are hard-pressed to invest in its continued refinement.”

In June 2011, Alstom and AEP successfully completed the operation and testing of a CCS validation facility also at the Mountaineer plant, thus setting the foundation for the larger Mountaineer II demonstration project. Launched in 2009, this phase I Mountaineer project was the first in the world to capture carbon dioxide from the emissions of coal-fired power plant and store them safely in underground rock formations located on-site.

MacNaughton went on to update the USEA audience on other CCS demonstrations in North America, Europe and Asia, and local and regional policy. For example, MacNaughton noted that a demonstration project conducted in partnership with The Dow Chemical Company at a Dow facility in Charleston, WV has been important and successful in helping to further validate the advanced amine technology used at that site.

About Alstom Power
Alstom is a global leader in the world of power generation, power transmission and rail infrastructure and sets the benchmark for innovative and environmentally friendly technologies. Alstom builds the fastest train and the highest capacity automated metro in the world. It provides turnkey integrated power plant solutions and associated services for a wide variety of energy sources, including hydro, nuclear, gas, coal and wind, and it offers a wide range of solutions for power transmission, with a focus on smart grids. The Group employs 93,500 people in 100 countries and had sales of more than USD $29 billion in 2010/11.

About The United States Energy Association
The United States Energy Association (USEA) is the U.S. Member Committee of the World Energy Council (WEC). USEA is an association of public and private energy-related organizations, corporations, and government agencies. USEA represents the broad interests of the U.S. energy sector by increasing the understanding of energy issues, both domestically and internationally.

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Tim Brown
Alstom
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