West Coast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership
Additional information related to ongoing WESTCARB efforts can be found on their website.

The West Coast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (WESTCARB) is led by the California Energy Commission and represents a coalition of more than 90 organizations from state and provincial resource management and environmental protection agencies, national laboratories and research institutions, colleges and universities, conservation non-profits, oil and gas companies, power companies, pipeline companies, trade associations, vendors and service firms, and consultants. The partners are engaged in several aspects of WESTCARB projects and contribute to the efforts to deploy carbon storage projects on the west coast of North America. WESTCARB encompasses Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, and the Canadian province of British Columbia. 

West Coast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership Region
West Coast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership Region

WESTCARB's goals are to characterize regional opportunities for geologic and terrestrial carbon storage; validate the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of some of the best regional opportunities through field tests; and demonstrate geologic storage at a larger scale.

The geology of the WESTCARB region is varied, ranging from the shield volcanoes of Hawaii to tectonic plate margins along the U.S. and Canadian western coastlines, to interior regions featuring mountains and large and small sedimentary basins. WESTCARB geologic characterization studies show excellent carbon storage potential throughout the region. Numerous opportunities for EOR, as well as some for ECBM, offer the potential for geologic storage to be coupled with energy production. In addition, saline formations in broadly distributed sedimentary basins have the potential to store hundreds of years' worth of the region's CO2 stationary source emissions. Terrestrial storage opportunities rank among the best in North America and may provide a viable approach to offsetting some of the region's substantial transportation-related CO2 emissions.

  CO2 Point Source Emissions by State
  CO2 Point Source Emissions by State
Click to enlarge.

WESTCARB estimates that the region annually produces more than 228 million metric tons of CO2 from stationary sources, or over 15 percent of the nation's CO2 emissions. Electricity generation and industrial activities in California and Arizona account for a large portion of the region's CO2 emissions. As part of ongoing activities, WESTCARB continues to update annual emissions estimates and stationary sources as new information becomes available. WESTCARB is also an integral part in the development of climate change mitigation policy within the region by helping guide carbon capture and storage (CCS) policy decisions at the state and local level. Currently, WESTCARB research has been utilized in implementing California, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada state government greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and CCS policies.

The regional characterization of potential storage sites conducted during the initial (characterization phase) efforts confirmed that the region offers significant potential for storage in porous sedimentary formations. WESTCARB's validation phase pilot-scale geologic projects were designed to characterize and test areas of high CO2 storage potential in the region. A total of four locations were selected, and those projects have taken place or are underway in Arizona, California, and Washington. Three locations, two in California and one in Arizona, have been investigated to determine the ability of deep saline formations to store CO2. Results indicate that the formations are suitable for and have the potential to store many hundreds of years' worth of regional CO2emissions. The fourth project targeted the storage potential in deep coal seams and saline formations in western Washington and estimated up to 345 million metric tons storage resource.

WESTCARB Validation Phase Geologic Storage Project Sites
WESTCARB Validation Phase Geologic Storage Project Sites

In addition to the geologic storage efforts, the region has a wealth of forest and agricultural lands, where improved management practices could also store substantial quantities of carbon, or use the available resources for biomass production. The partnership's efforts have included two terrestrial storage research and pilot studies to leverage the wide range of natural landscapes within the region. The program was designed to: 

  1. Determine best management practices for carbon storage in croplands and rangelands.
  2. Identify and test monitoring, verification, and accounting (MVA) technologies that reduce the costs of verification. 
  3. Explore carbon market opportunities. 

WESTCARB has conducted two validation phase terrestrial storage tests in northern California and southern Oregon focusing on afforestation, forest conservation, and fuels/fire management practices. Results from these efforts include: 

  1. Terrestrial Sequestration of CO2 Best Practice Manual. 
  2. Tools for improving management of forests and forest fuels. 
  3. Modeling and evaluating carbon losses from forest fuel treatment and management activities.

WESTCARB is evaluating opportunities for CO2 storage with its partners in preparation for a development phase CO2 storage field project. The saline formations in the large sedimentary basins of the WESTCARB region are of prime interest; however, sites in the region's oil and natural gas fields are also under investigation where a business case may favor early commercialization opportunities.

WESTCARB's outreach and education program promotes communication among the research community, policymakers, the public, media, tribal and non-governmental organizations, and industry. WESTCARB is committed to sharing information and gaining feedback from stakeholders on the diverse aspects of technology and project development for both terrestrial and geologic carbon storage. In addition to maintaining a website, WESTCARB hosts meetings in communities where pilot projects are proposed and has held its annual public meetings in Alaska, Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington to encourage regional participation. WESTCARB has arranged tours of project sites to give stakeholders a firsthand look at field operations and has supported The Keystone Center's teacher training on climate change, where teachers learn about carbon storage, and examined the broader implications of climate change.

WESTCARB works with local landowners and interested parties to demonstrate the benefits of CO2 storage.
WESTCARB works with local landowners and interested parties to demonstrate the benefits of CO2 storage.

WESTCARB works with other organizations to provide information on geologic carbon storage in the western region. The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)—joined recently by WESTCARB as a co-sponsor—have held public workshops in Sacramento and Los Angeles, California. California State University Bakersfield, with WESTCARB participation, hosted well-attended public education workshop focused on CCS and EOR opportunities in the San Joaquin Valley.

A WESTCARB partner, the Western Shasta Resource Conservation District, has an ongoing program to educate northern California landowners about terrestrial carbon storage. District personnel meet with individuals and conservation groups, feature informational activities at environmental festivals, and have helped engage participants in WESTCARB's reforestation pilot projects.

In the policy realm, WESTCARB researchers co-authored the 2008 Geologic Carbon Sequestration Strategies for California: Report to the Legislature in response to legislative action (AB 1925) and are currently serving as technical advisors to the California Carbon Capture and Storage Review Panel, which was convened by state agencies to draw up recommendations for CCS regulation. WESTCARB has also organized several CCS workshops for the California Energy Commission's biennial Integrated Energy Policy Report, an important guidance document for the state.

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