center for partnerships & innovation

Energy Infrastructure Modernization

Energy Infrastructure Modernization

Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage

The market for coal-fired electricity has significantly evolved in recent decades, with coal’s share of generation falling across the country. However, coal-fired power is an important resource in many states, and public utility commissions have an interest in understanding opportunities for the U.S. coal fleet to evolve. The U.S. Department of Energy and NARUC established a Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Partnership as a cooperative effort to highlight new technology and regulatory approaches to:

  • Improving the environmental and economic performance of coal-fired power plants
  • Understanding new market opportunities for coal byproducts
  • Increasing the deployment of carbon capture, utilization, and storage projects

CCUS Partnership activities are closely coordinated with the NARUC Subcommittee on Clean Coal and Carbon Management.

  • A Comprehensive Survey of Coal Ash Law and Commercialization: Its Environmental Risks, Disposal Regulation, and Beneficial Use Markets, February 2020
    Using data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the report cites 478 plants that generate coal ash. Utility-owned coal ash impoundments can be found in 24 states across the country. In 2017, more than 100 million tons of coal ash were generated. Although 64 percent of coal ash is recycled, disposal of the remainder is still a concern for utilities and both environmental and utility regulators due to the environmental and public health threats and costs of potential coal ash spills, as have occurred in some states. The costs of cleaning up decades of accumulated coal ash and complying with current regulations can run well into the billions of dollars, making the allocation and control of costs matters of primary concern for state utility regulators. This paper offers a comprehensive look at coal ash policies and challenges for utilities, state utility regulators, and other stakeholders.
  • Recent Changes to U.S. Coal Plant Operations and Current Compensation Practices, January 2020
    A new white paper commissioned by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners examines the impacts of changes in the electricity generation mix on operating coal-fired power plants. With 30 gigawatts of coal capacity having retired in the past two years, the report details how remaining coal plants are managing increasing pressure to act as load-following — or cycling—resources, particularly in states with high reliance on intermittent renewable generation. Recent Changes to U.S. Coal Plant Operations and Current Compensation Practices explores the impacts of this ongoing shift and offers an overview of strategies for coal plant owners and operators to manage costs while providing flexible electricity generation.
  • Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Sequestration: Technology and Policy Status and Opportunities, November 2018
    This paper examines the present state of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration (CCUS) and the challenges to widespread deployment in the energy sector. It explores the policy and technology environment for coal-fired power generation and CCUS for energy and industrial uses. It offers an array of actions policymakers and regulators can use to encourage CCUS adoption to extend the life of existing coal-fired power plants while drastically cutting carbon dioxide emissions, illuminating how the coal plant of the future could look. The report highlights the importance of public-private partnerships between the National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, universities, research organizations, and utilities in advancing research, development, demonstration, and deployment for CCUS technology.
  • WIEB + NARUC Carbon Capture, Utilization & Storage Workshop Six-Part Webinar Series, Sept. 11 - Oct. 16, 2020
    View agenda
    View summary
    The NARUC Subcommittee on Clean Coal and Carbon Management invites Commissioners and other stakeholders to explore challenges and opportunities facing the U.S. coal fleet in a six-part webinar series on Fridays 1:00 - 2:00 pm ET between Sept. 11 and Oct. 16, 2020. This series will connect Commissioners with experts from the power industry, federal and state government, and other key voices. NARUC thanks the Western Interstate Energy Board and the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy for their support of this activity.
  • Site Visit to Bristol, VA, October 2019
    Commissioners toured Coronado Coal’s Buchanan underground mine complex and the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center, an innovative dual-fuel (coal and biomass) power plant.
  • Site Visit to Birmingham, AL, May 2019
    Commissioners toured Plant E.C. Gaston and the National Carbon Capture Center, a DOE-Southern Company facility offering test bays for carbon capture technologies for coal- or gas-fired power generation.
  • Site Visit to Gillette, WY, September 2018
    Commissioners toured the Cordero Rojo surface mine, Dry Fork Station, and the Integrated Test Center, a research and test facility attached to Dry Fork where Carbon XPrize teams can test their carbon capture and utilization technologies on an operating coal-fired plant.
  • Site Visit to Bismarck, ND, May 2018
    Commissioners toured Coal Creek Station and the Great Plains Synfuels Plant, a coal gasification facility that produces numerous useful products from regional coal supplies. Commissioners heard presentations on the regional energy market and carbon sequestration research from the Lignite Energy Council, a local energy industry association, and the Energy & Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota.
  • Site Visit to Houston, TX, September 2017
    Commissioners toured the Petra Nova carbon capture project at NRG’s W.A. Parish power plant southwest of Houston. Petra Nova is the first commercial scale carbon capture project on a coal-fired power plant. Captured carbon is compressed and sent via pipeline to West Ranch Oilfield, where it is utilized in enhanced oil recovery.
  • Site Visit to Morgantown, WV, May 2017
    Commissioners toured Longview Power, one of the newest and most efficient coal-fired power plants in the U.S. Commissioners also visited the Morgantown campus of the National Energy Technology Laboratory and heard from portfolio managers leading coal and carbon capture research projects.

Funder:

  • NARUC is grateful to the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy and the National Energy Technology Laboratory for funding the Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Partnership, which enables the resources and activities described on this webpage.

Key Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Partnership Members:

  • Commissioner Jeremy Oden, Alabama Public Service Commission
  • Chairman Kara B. Fornstrom, Wyoming Public Service Commission
  • Membership of the NARUC Subcommittee on Clean Coal and Carbon Management

NARUC staff experts who support these activities include: