UKCCSC News 20 January 2009

Hi Folks,

I was going to write “This is a first, a CEO demanding a new tax” but I’ve a vague memory I’ve said that before. So maybe it’s a ‘second’?

“Exxon Chief Embraces Carbon Tax” Washington Post (9 Jan)

There is an interesting list of reasons why a tax is better than cap or trade, with Europe’s ETS cited as an example of how cap and trade doesn’t work.

“Also, cap-and-trade systems, because of their complexity, have inherent problems with verification and accountability. They require a vast expansion of administrative and regulatory officials to ensure emissions allowances are not exceeded. This is another cost for businesses and consumers to bear.”

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/energywire/2009/01/exxon_chief_embraces_carbon_ta.html

2) You may recall the Aussie CCS initiative called the Global CCS Institute. There was a meeting in London to try to grub up ideas about what to do with the promised funding. Well, they’ve managed to spend some of it…

“PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd has quietly appointed a British engineering executive to head his $100 million-a-year Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute” the age.com.au (10 Jan)

And the winner is (hang on while I fumble the gold envelope open):

“Nick Otter, now director of technology and external affairs at Alstom Power UK”

Interestingly, the article claims that the Aus Government has just agreed a 3.9 billion Aus Dollar package for the coal industry, with no environmental strings attached at all.

“The $3.9 billion handout to coal-fired power generators said it all. The more they pollute, the more they get.”

http://business.theage.com.au/business/rudd-needs-to-get-dinkum-on-the-environment-20090109-7dq1.html

3) This article is full of interesting info about a proposed coal-fired powerstation near Glasgow proposed by Dong Energy who are more-or-less owned by the Danish state. Ahhh, Danish!

“Danish firm’s Scottish plan for coal-fired power station that is banned in Denmark” SundayHerald (Jan 12) “In December, Denmark came out in favour of a carbon emission limit of 500 grams per kilowatt hour for new power stations. This effectively rules out any plant that relies on burning coal for 70% or more of its operation. According to Dong [Energy], the Hunterston plant will rely on coal for at least 86% of its operation. The rest will come from burning biomass such as wood and plants alongside coal.”

http://www.sundayherald.com/news/heraldnews/display.var.2480795.0.danish_firms_scottish_plan_for_coalfired_power_station_that_is_banned_in_denmark.php

4) More news from up North, where the Sustainable Development Commission have submitted a report to the Scottish Parliament:

“Warning over ‘clean’ power plans” BBC (6 Jan)

“New gas and coal-fired power stations should not be approved without guarantees carbon capture technology will work”

I tried searching the SDC website for the report, but either it’s not there or it’s well hidden.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7812697.stm

5) Wise words from FoE Scotland, I couldn’t have put it better myself:

“Carbon Dinosaurs” Friends of the Earth Scotland

“Why aren’t we saying no to coal altogether? Scotland has massive potential for renewable energy, …

But other, poorer countries such as China, India and Brazil, face rapidly growing energy demand, and despite China having the largest wind-power programme in the world and Brazil having the biggest sustainable biofuel production, such countries also need other sources of energy. Without CCS their emissions will grow regardless of what we do.”

http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/campaigns/coal/

6) Yet another of those ‘more money than you even dream about’ stories:

“Stanford Announces $100 Million Energy Institute” New York Times (13 Jan)

“The Precourt Institute for Energy will be headed by Lynn Orr, a professor of petroleum engineering who currently directs Stanford’s Global Climate and Energy Project, a research initiative that looks at ways to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions through technologies such as fuel cells or carbon capture and storage.”

http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/12/stanford-announces-100-million-energy-institute/

6A) And another one from Energy Efficiency News (19 Jan):

“The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures “has given the go-ahead for plans to invest over €81 million in carbon capture and storage research (CCS).” … “The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and independent research organisation SINTEF are coordinating the international effort, which will see 15 joint laboratories built across nine countries. Norway will host five of the 15 laboratories at Trondheim in the north of the country.”

http://www.energyefficiencynews.com/i/1784/

7) I’m not going to report this story 50 times, once for each state, and I’ve no idea how many I’ve already missed!

“Illinois introduces new clean coal legislation” EnergyCurrent (12 Jan)

“Illinois has signed the Clean Coal Portfolio Standard Act into law. The new law creates a framework for developing coal gasification project with carbon dioxide capture and storage, requiring emissions from these facilities to be as clean as natural gas generators.”

http://www.energycurrent.com/index.php?id=3&storyid=15235

8) George Monbiot, the Guardian’s columnist who has long been a critic of CCS, made some surprising comments on the subject while reviewing the UK Tory party’s latest green policy (16 Jan):

“The only sensible CHP schemes, which the Conservatives also support, are industrial projects big enough to make carbon capture and storage viable.”

“What would it have cost the Conservatives to have stated unequivocally that no new coal-burning power stations will be built unless it uses carbon capture and storage from the day it opens?”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jan/16/monbiot-tory

(anybody who is familiar with Monbiot’s writing may be amused by the last part of the above URL – little things please people like me)

9) I don’t usually report plans for demonstration-scale projects, as there are so many that we’d have no room for anything else. And both mice and men know what happen to the best laid plans. However this example appears to be aiming to capture 1M tonnes per year, and has both funding and a pipeline to a burial site (Weyburn oilfield in Canada) so is in a better position than most (Power Engineering, 16 Jan).

“The United States Department of Agriculture approved a $300 million loan to Basin Electric Power Cooperative for a carbon-dioxide capture project. The money will be used to finance development of a demonstration project for capturing CO2 at Basin Electric’s 900 MW coal-fired Antelope Valley Station near Beulah, N.D.” That’s North Dakota.

http://pepei.pennnet.com/display_article/350496/6/ARTCL/none/none/1/Carbon-capture-project-set-for-N-Dakota-coal-fired-plant/

10) And now for something completely different:

“Zurich creates two new insurance policies to support green house gas mitigation technologies, addressing the unique needs of Carbon Capture and Sequestration” MarketWatch (19 Jan)

“with the offering of these products, we have eliminated a significant barrier to widespread deployment of this critical technology in the long-term mitigation of carbon emissions.”

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/zurich-creates-two-new-insurance/story.aspx?guid=%7BA19570C0-F277-4993-ABC2-253911661ADC%7D&dist=msr_1

That’s all Folks

Mark