WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2020 – Today in the US House of Representatives, four Members of Congress introduced a landmark bill to advance essential infrastructure to enable carbon capture, utilization, removal, and storage as a critical means of reducing CO2 from hard-to-decarbonize sectors on the road to net- zero emissions by mid-century. The SCALE Act (Storing CO2 and Lowering Emissions Act) is designed to facilitate substantial scale-up of capture and storage of anthropogenic CO2 by encouraging the essential pipelines and other critical infrastructure to connect emitters with geologic storage sites.
The bill is sponsored in the House by Representatives Mark Veasey (D-TX), David McKinley (R-WV), Pete Stauber (R-MN), and Cheri Bustos (D-IL).
“We need to understand and plan the infrastructure necessary to achieve net-zero emissions. The introduction of the SCALE Act in the House is a powerful statement that the US will now embark on a path to develop the necessary open-access CO2 transportation and storage infrastructure to enable large-scale carbon capture, utilization, removal, and storage deployment,” said Lee Beck, CCUS Policy Innovation Director for Clean Air Task Force, a long-time NGO advocate for the development and deployment of carbon capture and storage technology as an essential weapon in the fight against global climate change.
“This bill is essential for so many reasons, including creating regional economic opportunities and jobs, realizing major economies of scale for CO2 capture and transport, and of course dramatically reducing CO2 emissions to our atmosphere,” said Beck. “The SCALE Act, if enacted, could be one of the most impactful pieces of climate legislation yet in the United States.”
There are four key components to the SCALE Act:
- Support the Research, Development, and Deployment of technologies that utilize CO2 emissions for advanced fuels, chemicals materials and other products of commercial value from anthropogenic carbon emissions, for example through a dedicated test center. Further, it authorizes the US Department of Energy (DOE) to provide grants to states and municipalities for procuring carbon utilization products for all kinds of infrastructure projects;
- The CO2 Infrastructure and Innovation Act (CIFIA) program, modeled on existing federal infrastructure finance programs, which will provide low interest loans and grants for CO2 transport infrastructure that will help facilitate private sector investment infrastructure critical for net-zero emissions;
- A third piece of the SCALE Act will build upon the existing DOE CarbonSAFE program to provide cost sharing for deployment of commercial-scale saline geologic CO2 storage projects. The program would give priority to larger geologic storage projects or those that will serve as hubs storing CO2 from multiple carbon capture facilities;
- Fourth, the Act authorizes increased funding to EPA for permitting Class VI CO2 storage wells and provides grants for states to establish their own Class VI permitting programs to ensure rigorous and efficient CO2 geologic storage site permitting.
“If carbon capture and storage is truly going to play its critical role in bringing down emissions to net-zero by mid-century, deploying the necessary supporting infrastructure, such as pipelines and storage hubs, is a critical step we must take right now,” said Beck. A major Princeton-led report released yesterday highlighted building out nationwide CO2 transportation and underground storage as a priority action before 2030 to achieve a net-zero US by 2050.
“We’ve recently seen other countries and regions, including Canada, Norway, the UK, the EU, the Netherlands, and Australia all implement policies and commit substantial funding for developing shared CO2 transport and storage infrastructure. Congress has an opportunity to shape U.S. policy in line with global ambition and to ensure America maintains its global leadership position in carbon capture by enacting the SCALE Act.”
The release of the SCALE Act comes on the heels of a variety of positive announcements globally on CO2 infrastructure, including the Norwegian Parliament approval of the Northern Lights Project, and the European Commission’s inclusion of carbon dioxide transport in the proposed revision of the trans-European networks for energy regulation (TEN-E).