The historical past of carbon seize and storage as a technique to meaningfully minimize greenhouse fuel emissions from fossil fuels is suffering from massive and eye-wateringly costly guarantees which have did not ship.
The brand new Nationals chief, David Littleproud, made a declare this week that some viewers might have taken to imply that one such CCS challenge was able to go.
Talking with the ABC Insiders host, David Speers, Littleproud was attempting to defend the Morrison authorities’s power and local weather coverage, which he stated was about “not solely defending fuel [but] defending our coal trade as properly with carbon seize and storage”.
Littleproud gave an instance: “You possibly can look about 60km west of the place I’m sitting now and carbon seize and storage is being applied on a coal-fired energy station from Millmerran,” he stated.
“That’s the funding we made in giving funding certainty and ensuring that we had dependable power. Complementing that with renewables and likewise fuel.”
There’s a CCS plan involving the Millmerran coal energy station, however to explain it as “being applied” is one thing of a credibility stretch.
The plan on the energy plant, operated by InterGen, is available in two components. Neither is near being underneath manner commercially.
The primary half is to “seize” some CO2 after the coal has been burned. A factsheet on the challenge, generally known as CTSCo and run by coalminer Glencore, was launched in January and stated an engineering design examine had been completed. However that’s a great distance from a working challenge being “applied”.
The second half includes trucking the supercooled CO2 by lorry 260km to CTSCo’s tenement within the Surat Basin the place Glencore says it has drilled a minimum of two assessments.
The corporate has not yet submitted an environmental impact assessment or gained any environmental approvals for the challenge, however says CO2 transported there might be saved in a geological formation 2.3km under the bottom.
In June final yr, Littleproud announced the Morrison government had given $5m to the CTSCo challenge, which was first raised by Glencore in 2010. In April this yr, Glencore stated it had obtained an extra $25m in taxpayer cash for the challenge.
Yesterday, Glencore introduced two extra industrial companions in CTSCo – every pitching in $10m – and stated after environmental assessments it was “working in direction of the graduation of CO2 injection in 2025”.
The opposite 98%
Littleproud defended the previous authorities’s power coverage as “smart” and pointed to initiatives just like the one at Millmerran for example.
What affect may it have on emissions on the energy plant? In line with Glencore, the challenge has the potential to seize 110,000 tonnes of CO2 a yr.
However in line with the Clear Power Regulator, the Millmerran coal-fired power station launched 5,257,559 tonnes of CO2-equivalent in 2020-21.
So even when the power at Millmerran will get constructed and works (and there may be someplace to retailer the CO2), it’s going to seize solely 2.1% of the coal plant’s annual emissions.
What occurs to the opposite 5,147,559 tonnes of CO2-equivalent? Don’t search for.
Don’t point out Paris
The federal opposition chief, Peter Dutton, introduced his new shadow ministry this week, with the pro-nuclear MP Ted O’Brien within the local weather and power slot, assisted by Senator Hollie Hughes.
That is the group Dutton has chosen to answer an election defeat the place voters selected candidates and events with extra formidable local weather plans.
Hughes told the ABC she was “not personally in favour” of extending the Coalition’s 2030 emissions discount goal, which has been set in stone for the previous seven years – a 28% minimize between 2005 and 2030. Labor’s goal is 43%.
Why did Hughes not need to prolong the Coalition’s goal?
“As a result of Australia is 1.3% of the complete international emissions, we may shut every part down tomorrow and go and stay in timber,” she stated, apparently attempting to minimise Australia’s contribution to the local weather disaster (not mentioning, clearly, the nation’s place as a number one exporter of coal and fuel).
“You possibly can’t have it each methods,” Hughes stated. “You possibly can’t say we need to enhance power provide however we’re going to close every part down.”
As if this wants mentioning: no person is saying that, as a result of that might be dumb.
However right here’s one other factor you may’t “have each methods”: you may’t signal as much as a world settlement with greater than 190 different nations and comply with submit your annual emissions to the UN yearly, after which signal as much as one other settlement promising to maintain enhancing your targets over time (all of which the Morrison authorities did), however then say that your emissions don’t matter and that you simply gained’t enhance your goal.
Truly, you may. However it will get you a world popularity as a local weather motion laggard, fewer MPs and senators in parliament, and the prefix “shadow” to go along with your job title.
An online headline within the Every day Telegraph this week learn: “Majority of Aussies say it’s time to go nuclear to save cash, planet.”
Whoever smashed out that headline seems to not know a lot about the price of energy technology.
In line with US-based monetary adviser Lazard, which produces experiences on the price of electrical energy technology, nuclear is – in most eventualities – among the many costliest methods to generate electrical energy on the earth, and two to a few instances dearer than photo voltaic and wind.
Dutton’s new shadow local weather minister, O’Brien, and Littleproud have each been advocates of so-called “small modular reactors” – partly on the grounds they may present low-cost power.
However CSIRO’s newest GenCost draft report says there may be “no prospect of a plant being deployed earlier than 2030” and it expects by then the capital prices of SMRs to be within the area of $7,700 per kilowatt – which is greater than 5 instances the price of large-scale photo voltaic, 3 times the price of onshore wind and greater than 10 instances the price of batteries.