Karen R. Obenshain

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Karen R. Obenshain is the Director of Fuels, Technology and Commercial Policy at the Edison Electric Institute, a U.S. utility lobbying group.

Defending Carbon Capture and Storage

In response to an opinion column criticizing Carbon Capture and Storage in the New York Times by Robert Bryce, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute, Obenshain conceded that he "raises some valid points about the challenges of capturing and storing carbon dioxide from coal-burning power plants, but his pessimism about the odds of success is unwarranted."[1]

Instead Obenshain insisted optimism was warranted as "every major new technology goes through a rigorous research, development and demonstration period to refine it and work out the kinks" and the utilities were doing just that with the aim of improving the efficiency of CCS technologies. As for concern about the magnitude and costs of pipelines from power plants to storage locations, Obenshain opined that, just as with "a wind turbine, pipeline or transmission line" it would take time but "is by no means an insurmountable obstacle."[1]

As for the magnitude of the storage capacity required, Obenshain was just as optimistic. "Fortunately, most scientists believe that we have more than adequate capacity in North America to store the emissions from our roughly 200 to 300 years of coal reserves," she wrote.[1]

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Karen R. Obenshain, "The Challenge of Capturing Carbon", New York Times, May 20, 2010.

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