Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Entergy CEO J. Wayne Leonard, and other leaders from the power sector and the environmental community discuss the enormous potential to address climate change via retrofit of the existing coal fleet.
Climate mitigation discussions have typically focused on the development and deployment of new energy technologies, partly due to the promise of advanced technologies but also because of the general misunderstanding that existing energy capital—particularly the pulverized coal (PC) fleet—would be impossible or impractical to retrofit for CO2 management.
However, if technologies that enabled existing PC fleet retrofit can be economically deployed, an enormous opportunity for carbon mitigation would become available both in the US and in the developing world where new PC capacity is being installed at a rapid pace. Although high costs, energy penalties, regulatory uncertainty, and other technical hurdles have hindered the outlook for retrofits in the past, new evidence suggests that post-combustion capture should not be overlooked as a potential option. Recent announcements to develop and demonstrate retrofit technologies by major energy and engineering companies illustrate that the prospects for retrofits may be improving and deserving of greater attention from policy makers, industry, and other stakeholders.