By The Lincoln County Commission — Jerry Hansen, Kent Connelly and Teri Bowers
The global energy landscape is changing. As energy demand reaches record highs amid a renewed push toward clean energy, producers face the daunting challenge of ramping up production while adhering to stringent environmental regulations. To fulfill these requirements, states must adopt and embrace new technologies that are both environmentally and economically viable, meeting increasing demand while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For Wyoming, carbon capture technology answers this charge.
A critical tool in building an environmentally and economically sustainable energy future for our state and community, carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a safe and proven technology that has been around for over five decades. CCS works by capturing CO2 produced through industrial processes and transporting it to a location where it can be stored securely deep beneath earth’s surface, keeping it from being released into the atmosphere. This, in turn, produces improved air quality, a cleaner environment, and mitigates the effects of climate change.
In addition to its myriad environmental benefits, CCS has provided invaluable economic benefits to Wyoming, and specifically, to Lincoln County for years – long before federal dollars were available to support CCS technology. Our great state is already home to the world’s largest and longest-running CCS project, Shute Creek, which has been in operation for over thirty-five years. Lincoln County, and by extension Wyoming, has long been a pioneer of CCS and its benefits to industry, economy, and community.
We have an opportunity in Wyoming to save coal units by converting to a CCS-capable facility. In doing this, we would not only improve air quality and reduce CO2 emissions, but we would also avoid mass layoffs and harmful ripple effects on communities that come with depleted job growth. It’s our moment to showcase years of research, investment and collaboration by industry and government alike.
Governor Gordon continues to advocate for carbon capture expansion. In fact, in his new position as Chair of the Western Governors’ Association (WGA), he recently announced carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) as his chair’s initiative, citing CCUS as a viable decarbonization option that avoids shuttering valuable coal plants across the state. Make no mistake, reducing carbon emissions is critical for Wyoming’s core industries and Governor Gordon is rightfully making it a top priority.
Wyoming is the national leader in carbon capture technology, both storage and utilization, and it’s time we continue to step up to grow and expand the technology as we look for ways to balance energy demand and future climate needs. As more states adopt carbon capture, it is essential that Wyoming continue to lead on this vital technology in order to attract investment and create a more economically and environmentally lucrative future for our great state.
Mr. Hansen, Mr. Connelly and Ms. Bowers are Lincoln County Commissioners