Zelek to Provide Insights into Inflation Reduction Act Tax Credits at the Appalachian Hydrogen & Carbon Capture Conference.

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Zelek to Provide Insights into Inflation Reduction Act Tax Credits at the Appalachian Hydrogen & Carbon Capture Conference.

For 21 years, Chuck Zelek worked at both the Departments of Agriculture and Energy, always doing what he could to bring economic development to the Appalachian Basin.

Today, Zelek and his partner, ex-USDA executive Leonard Jordan, are in the private sector, armed with 50-plus years of experience, with expertise in clean energy technologies and greenhouse gas management.

Through Climate Smart Business Solutions, Zelek and Jordan are part of ARCH2, the just-announced consortium formed by energy-related companies to bring a Hydrogen “hub” to Appalachia.

Establishing a hub in West Virginia, and with potential to bring Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky into the mix (The Ohio Clean Hydrogen Hub Alliance has also recently announced its support of ARCH2), the hub will have ready access to the extensive natural gas of the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays, along with end-user (Hydrogen) demand, workforce, and technology capabilities, along with carbon capture and sequestration potential.

“We are consulting various clients pertaining to opportunities around the energy transition, including technology plays, carbon offsets, and identification of existing – and development of new market incentives that can assist with the economics of their company’s efforts to address climate change.” Zelek said.

One such example is EQT (the U.S.’s largest gas producer and an ARCH2 founding member), and its goal of “net zero” by 2025.  “We have developed methodology that includes centers efforts around a cloud-based emissions and offset tracking system that will enable EQT to seamlessly match nature-based carbon offset projects with individual well emissions as part of the well development cycle.”  Zelek will be a featured speaker at the upcoming Appalachian Hydrogen & Carbon Capture Conference, organized by Shale Directories and the Hydrogen and Carbon Capture Network, Nov. 10, at the Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh Southpointe.

“We are excited to have Chuck Zelek as a speaker”, said Tom Gellrich CEO and Founder H2-CCS Network “Chuck’s deep background and entrepreneurial spirit will bring clarity and vision for how to leverage offsets to our conference audience.”

“Offsets align nicely with a lot of the grants. loans, and tax incentives coming out of the BIL and IRA.” Zelek said.

The recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) extends and creates Investment Tax Credits (ITCs) and Production Tax Credits (PTCs) for clean energy generation and gives the producers the choice to opt for either ITC or PTC, according to what works best for them.

The IRA increases the tax credit for permanent carbon removal (45Q) from $50 to $180 per ton using direct air capture and lowers how much CO2 a facility must remove to qualify from 100,000 tons to 1,000 tons.

“Since offsets are digital, we can slice and dice projects and match them with sources,” Zelek said. “So we can start to evaluate net zero project economics purely on a project by project basis, and zoom out to show a company’s progress toward net-zero (emissions) in real time.”

Climate Smart Business Solutions and its sister company, Climate Smart Environmental Consulting, have combined years of project implementation experience with cutting edge technology and real time data capability to design a system that can transparently and credibly backup offset claims by EQT.

The bottom line, Zelek said, is to create synergies, to integrate projects across opportunity areas to enhance the economics. In this case, offset data is centralized by employing remote sensors located at the offset projects which in turn lowers the offset development cost, improving the project economics.

“The practices that are used to develop nature-based carbon offsets are nothing new, they’ve been around since the 1930s,” according to Zelek.  “We actually just kicked off an offset project with EQT and Oglebay Park in Wheeling WV where we will be doing over 1000 acres of forest land improvement and measuring offsets over the next 10 years.”

Zelek and company are bringing offsets into cyberspace, offering more data quicker and less expensive.

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