The Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson has introduced landmark legislation to Parliament which will establish the world’s first comprehensive framework for carbon dioxide capture and geological storage.
This Bill will enable carbon dioxide to be stored safely and securely in geological storage formations deep underground in Australian off-shore waters under Commonwealth jurisdiction. The legislation has already been referred to the House of Representatives Primary Industries and Resources Committee for inquiry and report.
“The Australian government is committed to comprehensive action to tackle climate change, while maintaining Australian jobs and economic prosperity,” Ferguson said.
“We are committed to a portfolio of responses, including development of renewable energy sources and a focus on improving efficiency in energy consumption. But with around 80% of Australia’s electricity generated from coal, no serious response to climate change can ignore the need to clean up coal.
“Carbon dioxide capture and geological storage, or CCS, holds great potential as a method of avoiding the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
“Geological surveys indicate the storage formations in offshore waters made available by this framework have the potential to securely store hundreds of millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide for many thousands of years. The types of geological formations which have stored oil and gas, and in some cases carbon dioxide, for millions of years are the same as, or similar to, the storage formations proposed for greenhouse gas storage.
“CCS is essential for the long-term sustainability of coal-fired power generation and as the world’s largest coal exporting nation it is in our economic interest to accelerate the development of technologies which extend the viability of coal-fired electricity generation.
“CCS will also be crucial to the sustainability of potential new industries such as coal-to-liquids, which could significantly improve Australia’s liquid transport fuel security.
“This legislation seeks to balance the rights of this new storage industry with the rights of the petroleum industry in a manner that encourages investment in both industries.
“The legislation also provides for appropriate consultation and multiple use rights with other marine users, including the fishing and petroleum industries, and ensures pre-existing property and use rights are properly preserved,” he said.