The False Hope of Carbon Capture

San Juan Generating Station

For months the City of Farmington has been scheming with a small two-person outfit to keep San Juan Generating Station (SJGS) open past the 2022 closure date agreed upon by all other owners. Their plan is to install expensive Carbon Capture Use and Storage (CCUS) technology on the old plant and try to both: 1) sell the electricity to California and other markets and 2) sell the CO2 to the Permian Basin for enhanced oil recovery.

The City of Farmington is desperately pursuing an option that simply isn’t feasible. We urge them to instead invest in proven and sustainable solutions for the community, rather than a pipe dream.┬áThe Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) recently released a report on the carbon capture proposal. They found significant and concerning flaws in the plan and warned the City of Farmington to protect itself.

Major Flaws IEEFA Found in
Enchant Energy’s Carbon Capture Proposal

  • It overlooks how the deployment of carbon-capture technology around coal-fired generation remains a mostly academic, unaffordable exercise;
  • It presumes that the project could commence within two years, avoiding regulatory requirements that typically take longer to complete, and that it could be done in a cost-effective way;
  • It banks on the unlikelihood of being able to find a market in the distant Permian Basin oilfield for the carbon dioxide it would capture;
  • It does not say where long-term project liabilities would lie;
  • It does not address the absence of customers, the probable limited transmission access for power from the plant beyond 2022, and the inevitable rise in electricity costs owing to the parasitic load created by the installation of carbon capture equipment;
  • It plays up the importance of using newly enhanced tax credits for carbon capture to finance the project, while leaving out the fact that the credits would be available only if and when the project is operational, a highly unlikely outcome.

Learn More

Executive Summary
Full Report

 

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