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You’re hearing a lot about carbon capture lately.

It’s a technology that, until now, has been at the periphery of climate discussions — expensive, theoretical, with potentially harmful unintended consequences, including accidental releases and extending dependence on fossil fuels.

Shell and its joint venture partners' carbon capture and storage project near Fort Saskatchewan, Canada.
Shell and its joint venture partners’ carbon capture and storage project near Fort Saskatchewan, Canada. Credit: Government of Alberta Newsroom / Creative Commons

That’s all changed with a massive influx of federal incentives, and a draft EPA rule that calls for power plants to be nearly zero-emissions by 2040 in part with carbon capture technology that utilities have long assured us would be possible.

And even if you can successfully pull CO2 from smokestacks, you have to put it somewhere. That’s creating a buzzsaw of opposition in the rural Midwest, including recently in Indiana, where a developer admitted to a roomful of landowners that it is planning to pipe carbon to a rural area to avoid generating controversy in more populated areas nearby. Opposition to pipeline projects in states like Iowa and South Dakota is creating a common cause among deeply conservative farmers and renewable energy advocates.

There will certainly be more to come; federal applications to inject CO2 into rock formations have jumped from 14 to 119, as some states seek authority over permitting to move the projects along. And Microsoft last week announced it will purchase $200 million in carbon credits from a direct-air capture startup. 

The story is just beginning. We’ll be here to help you keep track of it.

More clean energy news

🛢️ Reversing course on Arctic oil: The Biden administration has canceled the seven remaining oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, drawing outrage from Alaska lawmakers and praise from tribal nations. (E&E News, CBC)

👷 Help wanted: Clean energy industry stakeholders are calling on the Biden administration and Congress to fund workforce training programs, saying the White House’s climate goals are at risk without a strong pipeline of trade workers. (E&E News)

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Energy equity: Tribal nations say a lack of upfront capital and technical expertise is hindering their efforts to tap billions of dollars of federal clean energy incentives. (Reuters)

🚔 Grid attacks: This year has seen a record number of attacks on U.S. grid infrastructure, an issue that no single agency tracks and that local officials are not well-positioned to respond to. (Politico)

🔋 Batteries required:
• Supporters of a battery storage development replacing a fossil-fuel-burning power plant in western Massachusetts say the facility could be used as a model elsewhere. (Energy News Network)
• Texas battery facilities supplied 2,172 MW during a critical evening last week, providing 3% of the state grid’s overall power and propping it up while it operated in emergency mode. (Texas Tribune)

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🚗 Road trip: A lack of working electric vehicle chargers causes problems for U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and her team as they road-trip from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Memphis, Tennessee. (NPR)

🍺 Cleaner beer: A Colorado brewery plans to replace its gas-fired boiler with a prototype industrial electric heat pump that could pave the way for widespread adoption of the technology. (Colorado Sun)

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Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.