What can or should Congress to do incentivize "clean coal" technology?
An administration task force said in a report last week that while the barriers to "clean coal" technology -- known as carbon capture and storage (CCS) -- can be overcome, deploying it on a wide scale means setting a price on carbon emissions. Evidence of the steep challenges the administration and private sector face in developing CCS recently surfaced when the Energy Department backed out of a plan to build a new "clean coal" power plant in Illinois. Instead, it awarded $1 billion in stimulus funding to retool an existing plant with CCS technology. No CCS power plants exist in the United States right now (there are only four in the world, according to the task force's report).
Is CCS technology a viable way to ensure the United States can continue using its most abundant source of energy? Or should Congress focus more on incentivizing other energy sources, such as renewables, nuclear and natural gas, which are already used commercially? Does the administration's report breathe new life into efforts to price carbon emissions?