Coal sequestration a near-future necessity; one utility gets a jump start

If coal’s going to be viable in an emissions-regulated future, we need to hurry up and learn the how-tos of carbon sequestration, says a new study from MIT. The U.S. should take the lead and fund three to five emissions-burying demo projects within the decade, says the report; meanwhile, companies should be charged for CO2 emissions and incentives for old-school coal plants should be removed. Study coauthor John Deutch drew an analogy between carbon sequestration and nuclear waste disposal, saying, “If you don’t pay attention to it at the beginning … later on it ends up to be a more unpleasant surprise than it has to be.” Speaking of surprises, the report indicates that the U.S. Energy Department’s “clean coal” research budget “falls far short of what is required.” On that note, a big pat on the back to Ohio-based utility American Electric Power, which yesterday announced plans to conduct the nation’s largest-ever sequestration project, using a technique on which the DOE has not focused.