Nesbitt (Courtesy: Michigan Legislature)
As we continue to move forward into the 21st century, it is important that we find new ways to advance in energy use and production, as well as develop new infrastructure. Embracing more efficient and effective technology will allow us to create an environment primed for job growth, lower energy costs, and a new way to protect and preserve “Pure Michigan.”
In the spring 2012, the Michigan House of Representatives’ Natural Gas Subcommittee released their report on energy and job creation. The report detailed several issues that the subcommittee felt could put Michigan on the right track toward developing an “all of the above” energy policy. Among the many recommendations put forward, the storage and utilization of carbon dioxide for future energy production was one that had the potential to place Michigan at the forefront of a newer, developing field.
In the past, electric generation plants and coal liquefaction plants would simply release the CO2 created from their operations into the atmosphere. Now, we have found new and cleaner ways to reduce those emissions and actually capture the CO2, transport it, and store it. The captured CO2 can then be used for a variety of innovative activities, including processes used to produce more energy like Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).
EOR is a newer technology that continues to receive more and more positive attention from energy and environment groups, alike. The EOR process utilizes captured CO2 and injects it into a well, pressurizing it enough to bring the previously stranded oil to the surface for recovery. In addition to recovering this once unattainable energy, the empty well then serves as storage for the CO2 used during the process, instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.
However, Michigan law does not currently include a definition for the transportation and usage of carbon dioxide in secondary or enhanced recovery projects.
That is why I, along with state Reps. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, Thomas Stallworth, D-Detroit, and Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle, authored bipartisan legislation that will allow Michigan to become more competitive in the areas of CO2 storage and use. Updating our current laws will ensure this emerging area of energy production and use is governed by the proper rules and regulations. This bill package solidifies the oversight by the Michigan Public Service Commission, as well as providing incentives through the restructuring of the severance tax rates on energy producers for the capital intensive CO2-EOR process.
Finding efficient ways to recover oil from existing wells, as well as exploring new means to utilize and store CO2 are two great areas where we can take steps towards energy independence. This bill package is good for our economy, it is good for our environment and it is great for our state’s future growth.
This is why I was happy, as chair of the House Energy and Technology Committee, to see significant support for this bill package from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. As these bills continue through the legislative process, I look forward to this continued cooperation as we work together to develop an energy policy that can allow for more reliable, efficient, and affordable energy for Michigan families.
State Rep. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, represents Michigan’s 66th district, and is chair of the House Energy and Technology Committee.