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Letter: New Mexico ETA requires carbon capture

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Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

The Energy Transition Act (ETA) requires carbon capture technology if it is to achieve zero-emission for electricity generation or at least near-zero-emissions. Why? ETA requires all coal power generation to be replaced with wind and solar. Wind and solar are so intermittent that there needs to be a backup system and that can be either grid-scale batteries or combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT) with carbon capture use and storage (CCUS).

Grid-scale batteries are far too expensive and don’t last nearly long enough, limiting the role they can play on the grid, according to James Temple, MIT Technology Review. “If we plan to rely on them for massive amounts of storage as more renewables come online — rather than turning to a broader mix of low-carbon sources like nuclear and natural gas with carbon capture technology — we could be headed down a dangerously unaffordable path.”

This unaffordable path is exactly where New Mexico is going with their ETA. Not only is lithium-ion battery technology too expensive for this ETA role, but limited battery life means it’s not well suited to filling gaps during the days, weeks and even months when wind and solar generation is sometimes more intermittent than normal through seasonal dips.

ExxonMobil is a sponsor of the National Carbon Capture Center, a U.S. Department of Energy research facility, and is a founding member of the Global CCS Institute. As we all know, Exxon is also one of the major players in the Permian Basin O&G extraction here in New Mexico and it appears they are investing in the future of electricity generation here as well.

Yes, the only practical path for the ETA to achieve Gov. Lujan-Grisham’s desired 100% free emission by 2050 is to implement CCGT with CCUS for baseload electricity generation (or nuclear).

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The wind and solar farms become secondary energy sources with 25-year life cycles and an eyesore on our enchanted landscape if not properly decommissioned.

Martin Kral

Roswell

 

 

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