Coal Feet: Carbon Capture and Storage Too Pricey, China Says
Is China getting cold feet about clean coal? It certainly sounds that way. Bloomberg reports:
“Carbon capture and storage, particularly for China is not one of the priorities–the cost is an issue,” [said Su Wei, director-general of the climate-change unit at China’s National Development and Reform Commission] in an Aug. 4 telephone interview from Beijing. “If we spent the same money for CCS on energy efficiency and the development of renewables, it would generate larger climate-change benefits.”
Wow. Even though so-called clean coal is still embryonic, there’s increasing consensus in the U.S. that making it viable is crucial to meeting emissions goals and keeping the lights on.
That’s doubly true for China, where coal is a bigger—and much faster-growing—part of the energy mix. In fact, MIT recently argued that China must not only build new clean-coal plants, but retrofit existing coal plants at great expense if the world is to have any hope of curbing greenhouse-gas emissions.
And the idea that China must embrace clean coal has become a staple of U.S. policy as well, from vice president Joe Biden’s famous rope-line comments during the campaign to Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s more recent pronouncements. In fact, China and the U.S. just agreed to cooperate on clean-coal research.
Even with China’s big push on low-carbon electricity sources—especially renewables and nuclear power—coal will still account for at least 60% of its electricity in 2020.