Carbon Capture & Storage Fails Again: International Energy Agency Report

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has failed to meet any global or local targets, according to new research from The Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program.

The release of The Australia Institute report coincides with today’s International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook report which suggests there is still a role for CCS, continuing the organisation’s love affair with the technology.

“Despite targets being lowered to make them more achievable, carbon capture and storage is still on track to miss every future target, showing the technology is an unrealistic and unviable solution to emissions reduction,” says Richie Merzian, Director of The Australia Institute Climate & Energy Program.

“To put the failure of CCS in context, the now-closed Hazelwood Power Station emitted over 12 million tonnes of CO2 per year. The closure of Hazelwood in 2017 made a bigger difference to world emissions than all CCS projects built anywhere in the world since 2011 put together.

“The IEA said coal alone would need 94 million tonnes CO2 per year by 2020, but it’s only projected to get to 2.4 million tonnes. You would have to shut down 10 coal stations the size of Liddell to make up for that shortfall in emissions. 

“If the IEA’s original target of 19 million tonnes CO2 per year capacity for the OECD Asia-Pacific had been met, Australia could expect to have seven or more working CCS projects by 2020 – instead of the currently none and possibly one by 2020.

“Pursuing the fiction that is currently CCS would be a fruitless undertaking, particularly when there are existing technologies which are already more affordable and more effective at reducing emissions.

“The best way to reduce Australia’s emissions is through more renewables and the phasing out of fossil fuels.”

Key targets missed by carbon capture and storage include:

  • Based on the Global CCS Institute database, Australia had seven CCS projects expected to be operating by 2020; Australia currently has no operating CCS projects.
  • The IPCC said CCS had the potential to reach 4,900 million tonnes CO2 of capacity by 2020, but on current projections CCS will only store 38 million tonnes of CO2 in 2020.
  • The IEA set a target of 94 million tonnes of coal-with-CCS by 2020, but coal-with-CCS will only reach 2.4 million tonnes of CO2. 10 coal stations the size of Liddell would have to be shut down to make up for that shortfall in emissions reduction.

Read the full report

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