Perceptions of the potential of emerging technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS) are constructed not just through technical and economic processes but also through discourse, i.e. through compelling narratives about what a technology is, what a technology might become and why it is needed and preferable to competing technologies. The influence of discourse is particularly important in the innovation phases prior to commercialization when innovation activities are focused on research, development and demonstration, and when feasibility and costs of alternatives systems cannot yet be tested by market dynamics. This paper provides a state-level comparative analysis of CCS discourse in the U.S. to provide insights about the socio-political context in which CCS technology is advancing and being considered in four different states: Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, and Texas. This research combines analysis of interviews of state-level energy stakeholders and media analysis of state-level newspapers. In semi-structured interviews, state-level energy policy stakeholders were asked to explain their perceptions of the potential opportunities and risks of CCS technology within their unique state context. Interview texts were coded to assess the frequency and extent of various different frames of CCS opportunities and risks including technical, political, economic, environmental, aesthetic, and health/safety. A similar coding scheme was applied to analysis of state-level newspaper coverage of CCS technology. Here, the frequency of these different framings of CCS opportunities and risks in state-level print media was assessed. This analysis demonstrates wide variation in state-level CCS discourse and perceptions of the potential opportunities and risks associated with CCS technology. This mixed-methods approach to characterizing the socio-political context for CCS advancement in these four states contributes to improved understanding of state-level variation in energy technology innovation, provides valuable information about energy technology development in these specific states, and also offers insight into the very different sub-national discourses associated with emerging low-carbon energy technologies in the U.S.
- Carbon capture and storage