A new report from Pike Research of Colorado says the addition of carbon capture systems to power plants will add 50% to 70% to the cost of creating electricity for existing and future plants.
The report, titled “Carbon Capture and Sequestration: Drivers and Barriers, Technology Issues, Key Industry Players, Market Analysis and Forecasts,” adds that such increases in costs will be initially underwritten by governments but gradually passed on to ratepayers.
The report will be a wakeup call to many on the potential of such systems, which are targeted at large-scale projects and coal-fired power plants in particular, the latter accounting for half of the world’s energy-related CO2 emissions.
Pike estimates that the CCS industry will grow to revenue of $221.5 billion by 2030. The margins, however, will be low, hovering “close to zero,” and “even over the longer term, the CCS industry, heavily subsidized and equally heavily regulated, will produce relatively low profits. In addition, margins will vary widely along the vertical chain of CCS, from capture to transport to geological storage.”
However, as the report notes, predicting the future profitability is guesswork, since the price of carbon emissions (i.e, the penalties for emitting too much) “will likely be set initially by government fiat and, over the longer term, market forces that are impossible to predict with confidence.”