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California carbon capture bills pass state Senate with bipartisan support

Three bills to advance carbon capture and storage in California passed the state Senate this week, bringing the state one step closer to commercializing CCS – climate technologies deemed critical to decarbonization by the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“As set forth in the California Air Resources Board (CARB) draft Scoping Plan, achieving carbon neutrality in California by 2045 requires carbon capture and storage, which provides a permanent solution to mitigate emissions from large, hard-to-abate industries like cement, steel, and heavy-duty transport,” said Andrew Place, State Energy and Climate Policy Director at Clean Air Task Force (CATF). “California has been a leader not only in climate action and emissions reductions, but also in technology innovation and commercialization. We’re pleased to see the Senate advance these important bills and meaningfully contribute to California’s climate goals.”

The three bills are: 

  1. SB-905. The Decarbonized Cement and Geologic Carbon Sequestration Demonstration Act tasks the CARB with developing a geologic carbon sequestration demonstration initiative and funding one to three projects by January 2026. It also tasks CARB with prioritizing demonstrations projects that achieve specified environmental justice and greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals. The projects must also reduce air pollution and other co-pollutants from cement facilities that impact the health of local communities. It passed the Senate on May 24, 2022, by a vote of 27 to 9, with 4 abstentions. 
  2. SB-1399. The Carbon Capture Technology Demonstration Project Grant Program requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to establish a competitive grant program to fund three projects that deploy and commercialize carbon capture projects at industrial facilities. It allows for utilization of captured carbon, with a requirement that projects must result in a net reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and includes a task force to provide technical and policy assistance to developers hoping to obtain permits necessary to deploy carbon capture projects. It passed the Senate on May 25, 2022, with a bipartisan vote of 35 to 5 with 5 abstentions.                                                                              
  3. SB-1101. The Carbon Sequestration: Pore Space Ownership and Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Program requires CARB, in consultation with the California Geological Survey, to establish a Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage program for developing the commercial application of carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies and equipment. The bill also creates an administrative framework within CARB that provides support for carbon capture projects seeking approval across the state. The projects must ensure permanent sequestration and include a plan for 100 years of maintenance, testing and monitoring, well plugging and abandonment, project repairs, and site closure, as necessary. This bill also directs CARB to prioritize projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimize land use and environmental, noise, air quality, traffic, and other construction-related impacts to local communities, as well as projects that maximize benefits to disadvantaged communities. It passed the Senate on May 25, 2022, with a bipartisan vote of 38 to 1 with 1 abstention. 

Place continued:Permitting carbon capture and storage projects in California currently entails a complex and opaque process. Projects are subject to multiple regulatory jurisdictions and there is currently no centralized coordination for permitting and siting. A coordinated and rigorous permitting process will facilitate project development by shortening permitting timelines, which will reduce risk for operators and allow for a faster scale-up of greenhouse gas emissions reductions, while also ensuring that projects are constructed in a safe and efficient manner.”

“Carbon capture and sequestration projects, when deployed in an equitable way that supports the health and economic resiliency of overburdened and underserved communities while ensuring local benefits are maximized, can be a critical tool to achieving deep decarbonization at least cost. These bills will help to accelerate the deployment and commercialization of technologies to decrease emissions from industrial facilities in California and help commercialize the technology for deployment around the world – something leading energy and economic models find is critical to addressing climate change.”

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