Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Carbon Capture and Storage – a failed dream

”It was never going to be viable,” Greens leader Senator Christine …  the fact is it is not going to work … it’s too expensive, it’s last century and we don’t need it because we have got renewables … Why would you stick with the horse and buggy era when you can move on?”

 Australia will not be able to use carbon capture and storage as planned. That means it will need to rework the assumptions underpinning its crucial carbon tax reform – among them the role of coal-fired electricity generation in Australia, the cost of emission reductions, and the idea that we can be part of a global effort to limit global warming while continuing to export
billions of dollars worth of coal.

Climate strategy up in smoke, The Age, Lenore Taylor, June 16, 2012 IT WAS the technology that was going to help underpin the nation’s climate change strategy. In 2009, the then prime minister, Kevin Rudd, pledged to ”lead the world” in carbon capture and storage technology, which traps carbon dioxide emissions, permanently storing them deep underground.
The Rudd and Gillard governments allocated almost $2.5 billion to push the idea, which would be used to ”clean up” coal-fired power stations in Australia and in the countries to which we will export $44 billion worth of coal this year.

But so far there is almost nothing to show for their effort. Instead, the fledgling technology is struggling. Critical assumptions about when it will be available could
be wrong, with dire consequences for efforts to slow climate change
and for Australia’s revenue base as the world’s largest coal exporter.
So far, not one industrial carbon capture and storage project is
running in Australia, and even the technology’s most enthusiastic
backers say that without big changes to government subsidies and
policy there won’t be one for many decades.
The only operating project in Australia is at Western Australia’s
Gorgon gas fields, where carbon dioxide is injected directly back
underground. It is the world’s largest CCS project, generating much
international interest. But it is a long way from proving the capture,
piping and storage of carbon dioxide from a power station.
Meanwhile, everyone appears to be blaming everyone else for the failure.
The government says coalminers should be investing more in the
technology crucial to the future of their industry. The industry
blames the influence of the Greens for blocking crucial subsidies for
CCS. The Greens say CCS is a dud, and was only ever advanced as a
”fig leaf” to justify the ridiculous ”obscenity” of the ALP’s
policy to reduce greenhouse emissions at home while approving a
massive expansion in coal exports. Whatever the reason, the lack of
progress means Australia’s climate change policy – and the future of
its second largest export industry – is based on an assumption that
may prove incorrect.
”It’s the big problem at the centre of the policy, which no one wants
to acknowledge,” says Tony Wood, energy program director at the
Grattan Institute and a former executive at Origin Energy……….
the Greens say carbon capture and storage does not deserve funding
because it does not work. They say renewable energy has ”won the
race”.
”It was never going to be viable,” Greens leader Senator Christine
Milne tells The Saturday Age. ”You are never going to be able to find
the areas to store it at scale, nor are you going to be able to afford
the pipes to take it from one end of the country to another. So the
fact is it is not going to work … it’s too expensive, it’s last
century and we don’t need it because we have got renewables … Why
would you stick with the horse and buggy era when you can move on?”
Asked about the assumptions made in the carbon pricing scheme that
carbon capture and storage would be available, Milne says that is
Labor’s problem. ”It’s a problem for the government because it is all
about legitimising ongoing coalmining and expansion and coal exports
overseas … If you admitted in Australia that CCS is a complete failure
and is not going to continue, then how can you justify a position
which says I am serious about addressing climate change, however, I am
digging up coal and I am exporting it in larger and larger amounts to
other countries to keep polluting the atmosphere?
”Carbon capture and storage is the fig leaf that covers for the
government the complete obscenity of saying, on the one hand, we want
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and … on the other, we want to
ratchet up coal exports, have them burnt overseas and make the
situation worse.”……

Australia is not alone in its lack of progress. The British government
recently relaunched a £1 billion competition to try to revive its
carbon capture and storage industry, after its first try failed to
find a successful bidder. The US has some operating projects that
inject CO2 in order to retrieve more oil reserves, but US Energy
Secretary Stephen Chu said recently that without a carbon price, US
companies were unlikely to invest in regular CCS projects…….

without big changes in policy, Australia will not be able to use
carbon capture and storage as planned. That means it will need to
rework the assumptions underpinning its crucial carbon tax reform –
among them the role of coal-fired electricity generation in Australia,
the cost of emission reductions, and the idea that we can be part of a
global effort to limit global warming while continuing to export
billions of dollars worth of coal.

http://www.theage.com.au/national/climate-strategy-up-in-smoke-20120615-20f7i.html#ixzz1xzBzEt00

June 16, 2012 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming |

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