News

Stop blocking CCS if you are serious about delivering secure, clean and affordable energy

Monday, 20 February 2017
Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, Embargoed to Monday 20 February, 2017: Australia’s renewable energy target (RET) is driving short term deployment of renewable technologies rather than building the resilient, reliable low emissions grid of the future, the world authority on carbon capture and storage (CCS) informed the Finkel Energy Review today.

In its Review submission, the Melbourne-based Global CCS Institute said although the RET had almost pan political support and was intended to encourage a wide range of technologies, it was only incentivising the lowest cost renewable technologies – notably wind and solar PV – with virtually no encouragement for the full arsenal of clean energy options required.

Speaking to the Institute’s submission, Global CCS Institute Chief Executive, Brad Page, said that there needs to be a realistic approach to the energy transformation that is necessary in Australia’s electricity system. We know that an over-reach in the deployment of renewables leads to grid instability, price and energy security problems that have been well evidenced over the past few months.

Pinning all of the low carbon electricity task to just a few renewable technologies is not a rational approach to energy security.

“Too little attention is being paid to the role which CCS-equipped fossil fuel generation can play in keeping industry afloat while decarbonizing the energy sector. Australia is losing ground to countries like Canada and the United States where CCS is operational across power generation and where governments are championing its deployment.”

Mr Page says maintaining a diversity in generation technologies will better enable the market to deliver electricity that is clean, reliable and affordable, and that excluding particular technologies from the mix will jeopardize this outcome.  

“New generation technologies must be encouraged into the market and CCS must be given the same incentives and opportunities as other clean energy solutions.”

Mr Page said technology neutrality was paramount if Australia wanted a steady, secure energy supply.

“CCS cannot be excluded from policy settings because of ideological prejudices towards fossil fuels. Because of a preoccupation with coal versus renewables, rather than with carbon emissions, not enough attention is being given to the pivotal role CCS can play in securing energy supply and decarbonizing the electricity sector.”

Mr Page addressed commonly heard criticisms around the cost and viability of CCS, citing new CCS facilities coming onstream and figures submitted to the Review panel which show the competitiveness of CCS.

The application of CCS on coal- and gas-fired power plants in Australia has been estimated to be between $150-200/MWh today compared to around $300/MWh for grid battery storage necessary to support intermittent renewables. Costs will continue to reduce with increasing deployment.

Mr Page noted the success of subsidies and other support provided to wind and solar PV which demonstrate that appropriate policies can drive innovation and lowering the commercial risk of low emission technologies, while also pulling them into the market at large scale.

“The current range of regulations and market incentives need to be broadened beyond wind and solar PV if Australia wants the lights to stay on and the electricity sector to be cleaned up.”

ends

For media enquiries, contact:

Antonios Papaspiropoulos, +61 401 944 478, Antonios.Papaspiropoulos@globalccsinstitute.com

Jake Lynn, +202 895 2793, Jake.Lynn@globalccsinstitute.com

About the Global CCS Institute The Global CCS Institute is an international membership organisation. Our mission is to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS), a vital technology to tackle climate change and provide energy security.

Working with and on behalf of our Members, we drive the adoption of CCS as quickly and cost effectively as possible by sharing expertise, building capacity and providing advice and support so that this vital technology can play its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Our diverse international membership consists of governments, global corporations, small companies, research bodies and nongovernment organisations, committed to CCS as an integral part of a low-carbon future. We are headquartered in Melbourne, Australia with regional offices in Washington DC, Brussels, Beijing and Tokyo. For more information, visit www.globalccsinstitute.com