♻️ Carbon Capture Is Hard. This Plant Shows Why.
Only one commercial power plant in North America is currently operating with carbon capture. Its experience hasn’t been as smooth—or climate-friendly—as proponents of the rules might hope. That plant, the Boundary Dam Power Station Unit 3 in Canada’s Saskatchewan province, turns locally mined coal into enough electricity for 100,000 homes.
The unit is designed to operate until 2044, but Boundary Dam’s owner, SaskPower, says the benefits of operating a coal-fired power unit using carbon-capture technology are becoming less apparent. “Utility operators in the United States will be in the same boat as we are,” said Rupen Pandya, president and chief executive of SaskPower.
Mr. Duffy said retrofitting an existing commercial-scale 300-megawatt natural-gas plant with carbon capture would cost $372 million, while retrofitting a similar-size coal plant would cost $600 million, based on recent estimates from the Energy Department. For new plants the cost would be about 10% less, he said.
The only commercial-scale power plant in the U.S. using carbon capture—the Petra Nova coal-fired plant in Texas—closed its $1 billion carbon-capture unit in 2020 after three years.
☀️ Utility-scale solar installation goes automated
Terabase announced it is launching an automated utility-scale solar installation system, dubbed Terafab. The company describes the service as an automated “field factory” that can double installation productivity. The installation system makes use of digital twins, logistics software, an on-site digital command center, a field-deployed automated assembly line, and installation rovers that can operate 24/7.
“We successfully field-tested Terafab last year, building 10 MW of a 400 MW site in Texas. Today’s launch is the next step forward to rapid commercial scale-up,” said Matt Campbell, chief executive officer and co-founder of Terabase. Terabase has partnered with developer Intersect Power, engineering, procurement and construction firm Signal Energy, tracking hardware provider NEXtracker, and solar panel manufacturer First Solar to develop the Terafab facility. Terafab is pegged for commercial deployment starting in Q3 2023.