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Climate change targets at risk—more action needed for CCS
10 Oct 2012
Actively supporting carbon capture and storage (CCS) as part of the suite of low-carbon technologies used to tackle climate change would save electricity customers around the world more than US$3 trillion.
Debunking the myth that CCS is not a reality, the Global CCS Institute has estimated that carbon abatement from eight CCS projects already operating is greater than that achieved by all other energy-related climate efforts combined to date in Australia or the UK.
In Calgary today to launch Global Status of CCS: 2012, Institute CEO Brad Page highlighted four key issues needing to be addressed to accelerate CCS deployment:
- the need for a stronger commitment to CCS by governments, in the form of timely and stable policy support to deal with barriers to implementation, drive industry confidence, encourage innovation and, ultimately, reduce capital and operating costs
- that it is critical the technology is not disadvantaged; CCS is often not treated equivalently to other low-carbon technologies in government policy settings and support even though it is a cost-competitive technology
- a need to accelerate government and industry investment into demonstration projects to develop technology and bring down costs
- the importance of capturing and sharing lessons learnt from all CCS projects, particularly with non-OECD countries, where 70 per cent of CCS deployment will need to occur by 2050.
In the past year, the net number of large-scale integrated projects increased by one, to 75; eight previously identified projects were cancelled; and nine new projects were identified, most of which will investigate enhanced oil or gas recovery options.
“CCS projects are on track to achieve 70 per cent of the International Energy Agency’s* [IEA] target mitigation activities for CCS by 2015,” Mr Page said, “but beyond that, it is clear that a very substantial increase in new projects will be required to meet the 2050 target.
“The number of operational projects would need to increase to about 130 by 2020, but this seems unlikely, with Institute projections indicating that only 51 of the remaining 59 projects identified in our annual survey may be operational by then.”
Mr Page said that CCS was already making a contribution to meeting the target of global average temperature increases of no more than 2oC. He said it was the only technology currently available to decarbonise the production of industrial materials such as iron, steel and cement, and was pivotal to carbon reduction in other sectors.
“If, for example, CCS was excluded as a technology option in the electricity sector, the IEA estimates that investment costs in the sector would increase by 40 per cent—about US$3 trillion—to 2050, to draw on more expensive abatement options to provide electricity.”
The Institute’s analysis was informed by a quantitative and qualitative survey of global CCS projects. Significant progress in CCS during the past 12 months included:
- inclusion of CCS in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Clean Development Mechanism
- introduction of a comprehensive policy to drive deployment beyond demonstration projects and reform of electricity market arrangements in the UK
- inclusion of CCS in China’s 12th Five-Year Plan for building on clean energy.
“Progress of CCS in China is particularly strong,” Mr Page said. “Five of the nine newly-identified large-scale integrated projects are there, making a total of 11 CCS projects in development in China.
“Support for capacity building activities in developing countries is also progressing well, with 19 non-OECD countries engaged in CCS, mostly at the early stage. Sharing expertise with these countries to overcome complex and difficult challenges is particularly important,” he said.
Other notable developments during the past year included:
- the opening of the US$1 billion Technology Centre Mongstad in Norway, an industrial-scale test centre for carbon capture
- in Canada, the announcement that Shell’s Quest project would be built to capture and store more than one million tonnes a year of CO2 produced at the Athabasca Oil Sands Project
- Southern Company’s post-combustion Plant Barry in the US became the world’s largest integrated CCS project at a coal-fired power plant
- advances in oxyfuel combustion were realised through two pilot-scale projects, CIUDEN in Spain and Callide in Australia
- construction continued on two large-scale demonstration power generation projects scheduled to become operational in 2014—Kemper County in the US and Boundary Dam in Canada.
The Global Status of CCS: 2012 report and other related resources are available to download from http://www.globalccsinstitute.com/get-involved/in-focus/2012/10/global-status-ccs-2012. The executive summary is available in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
*Energy technology perspectives 2012: Pathways to a clean energy system. OECD/IEA, France.
Media enquiries: Gareth Lloyd (Canada) +61 (0)488 268 140
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About the Global CCS Institute
The Global CCS Institute accelerates the adoption of carbon capture and storage (CCS), a key solution in mitigating climate change and providing energy security. The Institute advocates for CCS as one of the many options required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, both from power generation and industrial sources. It shares information from its international Membership (of 354), while building capacity to ensure that CCS can become a widely-used technology as quickly as possible. For more information, visit www.globalccsinstitute.com.