Duke considers taking carbon dioxide underground

Duke Energy has proposed spending $121 million to study the feasibility of injecting carbon dioxide deep underground, adding
1 percent to the average ratepayer’s bill between 2010 and 2013.

The study request was made in a recent
filing with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. The greenhouse gas would be harvested from Duke’s $2.3 billion
coal gasification power plant under construction in Edwardsport. In coal gasification, pollutants in coal are removed before
it is burned.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke said the study would include the drilling of multiple wells for a detailed
characterization of storage potential. The utility would also look at the potential use of carbon dioxide gas to enhance the
recovery of oil in depleted oil or gas fields.

In January, Duke applied for a U.S. Department of Energy grant that
the utility said could potentially offset up to half the cost of carbon capture and storage at Edwardsport.

“This
will be one of the nation’s first demonstrations of carbon capture and storage at a power plant,” said Duke Energy
Indiana President Jim Stanley.

But a number of groups, including Citizens Action Coalition, argue that ratepayers,
rather than Duke shareholders, are being squeezed for the development of a risky and unproven technology. The group contends
that Duke should be investing in renewable generation and in energy efficiency, rather than continuing to rely on coal.

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