Over the past decade, the United States (US) has demonstrated strong and evolving interest in the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS), an emerging set of technologies with potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. Given the many technical, economic, and environmental uncertainties about the future of CCS, the political salience of this technology is high. In the US, states make key decisions about deploying energy technology projects, but variation in state-level energy context (both technical and socio-political) is substantial. This research assesses variation in the state-level energy context for CCS development by exploring energy policy stakeholders' perceptions of CCS in four geographically and demographically diverse states. Policy stakeholders have different degrees of familiarity with CCS, and the goal of this research is to understand and compare the perceptions of CCS among stakeholders who shape state-level energy policy. Semi-structured interviews with 84 energy policy stakeholders across government, industry, academia, and non-governmental organizations active in four different states (Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana and Texas) were analyzed to compare perceptions of CCS risks and benefits. Negative associations of CCS were mentioned more frequently than positive attributes in each state, and technical, political and economic risks are more dominant than environmental or health and safety risks. Content analysis of the interviews provides insight on emerging sub-national discourse regarding CCS, on state-level variation in familiarity with CCS, and on sub-national variation in the socio-political context for energy technologies. The variation in state and stakeholder energy priorities and perceptions revealed in this study highlights challenges in the development and implementation of national-level energy policy and also specific challenges in the deployment of CCS.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are grateful for financial support of this research from the National Science Foundation's Science and Society program ( NSF-SES-0724257 ). We are also grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their constructive feedback, questions and suggestions. We also thank the interview participants in each of the four states for taking the time to talk with us. Appreciation also goes to all the graduate students on the larger research team, including Paige Evans and Gabriel Rand.
- Energy policy
- Energy technology
- Risk perceptions