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This year is shaping up to be a pivotal year for a global industry seeking commercial solutions for capturing and storing greenhouse gas emissions by coal power plants, according to a new study released by Emerging Energy Research (EER), a Cambridge, Mass.-based advisory firm in the renewable energy sector.

"Major carbon policy decisions that could mold the carbon regulatory landscape and economic framework for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) for the next decade are hanging in the balance," says Alex Klein, research director for EER.

The current financial crisis will have an impact on sequestration, exacerbating short-term development challenges, but long-term prospects for CCS remain strong, according to EER.

EER estimates that more than $20 billion has already been earmarked for spending on large demonstration CCS projects, with economic stimulus plans in Europe, the U.S. and Canada expected to increase this figure this year.

This funding could potentially support more than 30 large-scale carbon capture and sequestration projects, according to EER. Project investment in carbon sequestration could alone reach between $30 billion and $70 billion per year by 2030 based on EER's base-case and high-growth forecast, respectively.

Even as the economic crisis weakens balance sheets, there are signs of growing public commitments by numerous governments to incorporate CCS as a key technology in national energy policies.

While the U.S. is expected to lead the way, escalating funding in western Canada, Europe, and Australia is contributing to a robust global pipeline of sequestration activity. Driven by a desire to preserve coal as part of growing power generation requirements and impending carbon regulations, these countries are seeking to get out on the CCS learning curve over the next five years, according to EER.

SOURCE: Emerging Energy Research

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