Coal industry committed to carbon capture technology

The Minerals Council of Australia has lent support to comments from the G7 European leaders, that investment in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is essential to a decarbonised future with low cost energy.

MCAQ chief executive Brendan Pearson highlighted that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has forecast global solutions to climate change that act without developments to CCS will be 138 per cent more costly than those which do not.

“It is also important to emphasise that decarbonisation and continued fossil fuel use are not mutually exclusive,” Pearson said.

“The production of zero emissions electricity from coal is already happening.

“Using carbon capture and storage, the Boundary Dam power station in Canada is demonstrating that coal can produce affordable energy at virtually zero emissions.”

With the coal industry getting behind research into the capture of fugitive emissions from mines and power plants, more than $300 million has been committed to projects in Australia.

These include successful capture of carbon dioxide from a coal fired power plant in the Bowen Basin, storage of 65,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in a depleted gas field in Victoria’s Otway Basin, and ongoing searches for suitable storage sites for future CCS projects throughout Australia.

With demand for coal increasing in the Asian region, NSW has registered a five per cent increase in coal exports in the past financial year.

Pearson said the International Energy Agency expected global coal trade to grow by 40 per cent over the next 25 years, and that Australia is expected to regain it’s rank as the top coal exporter in the world, later this decade.

“Coal will continue to play an on-going role in the world's electricity generation due to its reliability and cost competitiveness,” Pearson said.

Pearson also pointed out that with 70 nuclear reactors under construction around the world, Australia was well positioned to continue as a supplier of 30 per cent of the world’s uranium, and contribute to low-emission base-load nuclear power.

The G7 climate talks have also identified that many wealthy nations and investors that agreed to spend US$100 billion per year by 2020 on climate aid to developing nations have yet to outline how they can reach that goal.

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