Being “green” isn’t cheap for taxpayers or ratepayers

August 15, 2011 by Amy
Filed under: New Energy Economy 

The Department of Energy just announced that Colorado Springs-based Neumann Systems Group, Inc. is one of four DOE grant recipients to study carbon-capture systems in order to fight global warming. Neumann will get $7,165,423 of more than $67 million in taxpayer funds for the “project, located at the Colorado Springs Drake #7 power plant, [which] will design, construct, and test a patented NeuStreamTM absorber.” The primary mission of these projects is to reduce the 80 percent cost increase that carbon-capture technology currently adds to electricity:

[T]he overall goal of the research is to develop carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and separation technologies that can achieve at least 90 percent CO2 removal at no more than a 35 percent increase in the cost of electricity. This would represent a significant improvement over projected increases in electricity costs using existing technologies.

Advanced CO2 power plant capture systems are a key element in carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies, considered by some energy experts to be among the important options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with possible climate change. Existing carbon capture systems currently require large amounts of energy for their operation, resulting in decreased efficiency and reduced net power output when compared to plants without CCUS technology. These penalties can add as much as 80 percent to the cost of electricity for a new pulverized coal plant.

It’s commendable that the DOE recognizes that an 80 percent increase in electricity costs is too much for ratepayers to absorb. We suggest that a 35 percent increase is too much, not to mention the $67 million taxpayer-funded grant to address the questionable theory of man-made global warming.

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