Increased Funding for Carbon Capture Research May Be Something Congress Can Agree On

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Last week a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation to increase funding for carbon capture research. The bill, called the Enhancing Fossil Fuel Energy Carbon Technology or EFFECT Act, was introduced by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee ranking member Joe Manchin, with Senators Lisa Murkowski, Shelly Moore Capito, Kevin Cramer and Steve Daines serving as co-sponsors.

 “The energy experts who have come before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources have been clear – fossil fuels are projected to be part of the generation mix through 2040, and likely beyond, and the United States needs to lead in technological innovations designed to reduce carbon emissions,” said Manchin in a statement. “This is a critical piece of the solution addressing the climate crisis.”

The EFFECT Act will appropriate $5.2 billion through 2024 for carbon capture research and development. Carbon capture has been seen as a middle ground that Congressional Democrats and Republicans can agree on as a part of the fight against climate change. In fact, just last week, another bipartisan group of 12 senators urged Senate appropriators to provide the Department of Energy with maximum funding for carbon capture, utilization and storage. The group argued that research for viable carbon capture technology could be a big boost to U.S. job growth. 

Senator Manchin’s bill, however, will form four new research programs within the Office of Fossil Energy. Those programs would be focused on carbon storage, carbon utilization, carbon removal and coal and natural gas technology, respectively. The carbon removal portion of the bill will provide funding for researching new strategies for removing carbon dioxide form the air on a large scale while the coal and natural gas portion of the program will focus on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the fossil fuel use.

“Carbon capture offers great potential to reduce emissions and will complement other clean technologies like advanced nuclear and renewable energy,” Senator Murkowski said in a statement.

“This Act will utilize the considerable resources of the Department of Energy and its National Labs to address the scientific challenges in capturing carbon, creatively using it, and permanently sequestering it.”

Energy Fairness agrees that carbon capture technology offers a great opportunity to create jobs and cleaner electricity while keeping our power grid reliable and our electricity prices affordable for consumers. We’ll be watching this piece of legislation closely.