Opportunities for Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS)and Hydrogen

The second-largest producer of energy in the United States, Pennsylvania has played a pivotal role across three energy revolutions in coal, oil, and natural gas. The commonwealth is today positioned to lead a fourth revolution in low-carbon energy technologies – especially in carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) and in hydrogen.

Meeting Pennsylvania’s pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050 requires significant investment in industrial facilities – the source of nearly one-third of all emissions, according to the most recent PA Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

CCUS technology captures carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial facilities and power plants that rely on fossil fuels. Once captured, the CO2 can be used on-site in certain industrial processes, transported to other facilities for use, or safely trapped deep underground. Critically, CCUS may reduce as much as 90 percent of CO2 emissions from segments of the industrial sector that are otherwise extremely difficult to decarbonize.

Derived either by splitting water molecules or by burning fossil fuels, hydrogen gas is an extremely useful feedstock and a potent energy carrier. With widespread applications in industrial processes, fuel cells, and in electricity generation, hydrogen can help decarbonize industry and transportation when it is produced with zero- or low-carbon technology. Infrastructure for hydrogen production, transportation, and end-use in Pennsylvania would drive significant job creation and community capital investment across the commonwealth.

“We believe that Pennsylvania can and will be a leader in the global energy transition, in ways that strengthen our workforce, grow our economy, and protect our planet,” said Abby Smith, President & CEO of Team Pennsylvania Foundation. “Our energy future cannot be addressed by one single company or by government alone – this will require strategic collaboration across the public and private sectors. We’re proud to be bringing together partners to chart a path forward for the commonwealth.”

The Cross-Sector Collaborative

In July 2022, Team Pennsylvania Foundation issued a press release announcing the Pennsylvania Energy Horizons Cross-Sector Collaborative, a partnership of energy stakeholder organizations. The collaborative brings together over 50 public, private, and non-governmental organizations committed to leveraging CCUS and hydrogen technology to decarbonize Pennsylvania’s economy and accelerate its economic growth.

In March 2022, Team Pennsylvania Foundation issued an RFP: Charting Pennsylvania’s Path for Industrial Sector Decarbonization: Opportunities for Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) and Hydrogen. The product is a roadmap for the rapid deployment of CCUS and hydrogen technology in the commonwealth.

The Cross-Sector Collaborative will build on the extraordinary momentum behind these issues and demonstrate that strong relationships between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors can deliver jobs, economic growth, and environmental justice to the benefit of all Pennsylvanians.

Members of the Pennsylvania Energy Horizons Cross-Sector Collaborative are listed here.

HOW MIGHT PENNSYLVANIA’S ENERGY SYSTEM EVOLVE IN 25 YEARS, AND WHAT MIGHT IT MEAN FOR PENNSYLVANIANS?

During a 12-month period beginning in 2017 and culminating in 2018, a group of Pennsylvanians representing a wide-ranging set of backgrounds and expertise was convened by Team Pennsylvania Foundation to debate, and ultimately attempt to answer, this question.

Their work culminates in a document titled Pennsylvania Energy Horizons, which was developed using a world-renowned energy scenarios methodology. The project lays out two plausible and challenging alternative futures called “Rivers” and “Roots” which may provide “strategic foresight” into how the decisions made by Pennsylvania’s policy-makers, business executives, community leaders and politicians today can shape our state’s future.

The group undertook this work acknowledging that Pennsylvania is undergoing a profound energy transition. In just a few short years, the Commonwealth has become the second largest natural gas producing state in the nation accounting for approximately 19% of the nation’s natural gas production. This is occurring amidst a global push for deep decarbonization measures.

To date, discussions about how to respond to our rapidly evolving energy system have occurred largely in isolation and at the ends of the ideological spectrum, with little room for compromise. The participants in this project sought a more comprehensive and balanced discourse towards a desirable energy future, and they found it in creating scenarios.

The choices we face around energy are complex and often involve difficult tradeoffs.

  • Pennsylvania Energy Horizons presents two stories of our future – “Rivers” and “Roots”. They describe how Pennsylvania’s energy system might emerge in 25 years as we seek to define answers to questions of great importance to us – our economy, our environment, and our culture.
  • These stories serve as a tool to begin a meaningful dialogue today among policy-makers, business executives, community leaders and politicians to thoughtfully and proactively help shape that future.
  • In the end, our hope is that individual Pennsylvanians will read these stories, draw their own conclusions about the ideal facets of our shared future, and then to act, and encourage society’s leaders to act, in a manner that helps shape that future.

For more information about the process and the report, go to: PennsylvaniaEnergyHorizons.org