UKCCSC News 20 May 2008

Hi Folks,

A truly mixed bag this time, with news ranging from good to not good.

Firstly, ‘False Hope’, a seriously pessimistic report from Greenpeace, who are selling their renewable / efficiency plan. Interestingly, a search for ‘nuclear’ doesn’t find any occurrences in the report. I guess they forgot to discuss that option.

“Why carbon capture and storage won’t save the climate.”

The major criticisms are that CSS is too expensive, will deliver too late and is untested on commercial scales. The same that could probably be said of the alternatives. However, the real objection to CCS is that it will be used as an excuse by ‘big business’ to build new coal fired powerstations. Perhaps, but non-democratic Governments don’t need excuses – there are no planning enquiries, and some of these counties are building new coal-fired stations at a frightening rate. Perhaps Greenpeace can persuade everyone in the Western World to stop buying cheap consumer goods from such countries, and for Asian families to continue to burn dried animal poo for heating instead of using environmentally damaging electricity?

2) In the same vein: “Plans for new coal plants under fire” Guardian

“Protesters are to launch one of the hardest-hitting environmental campaigns for more than a decade over plans to build a new generation of coal-fired power stations in the UK.

Senior scientists, City investors, international leaders and MPs from all parties have joined environmental groups in condemning plans to approve coal plants before there are guarantees that they will be fitted with equipment to stop the release of harmful greenhouse gases.”

3) “EU parliament wades into carbon capture battlefield” EUobserver

“UK Liberal MEP Chris Davies, the lawmaker responsible for steering legislation on CCS through the European Parliament, wants to see a short-term ‘double credit’ special arrangement introduced into the third phase of the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS).

This would enable power plant operators to not only benefit from the ETS by not having to buy allowances, having not produced any CO2, but they would in addition be given an extra credit note for every tonne, which could then be sold on the carbon market.

The MEP stressed to the parliament’s environment committee on Monday (5 May) that the arrangement would be only temporary.”

4) And the same man again, making waves… “Plea over power stations’ emissions”, Press Association

“Measures to trap carbon emissions should be compulsory on new fossil-fuelled power stations from 2015, Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies has said.

Mr Davies said legislation should prohibit countries from authorising new power plants from 2015 unless they have the equipment to capture and store 90% of their CO2 output.

Mr Davies, who is responsible for steering draft legislation on carbon capture and storage (CCS) through the European Parliament, also said all existing plants should be retrofitted with the technology by 2025.”

5) News from Down-under:

“A $127.4 million Brumby Government boost will create new jobs in the Latrobe Valley and position Victoria’s coal industry as one of the cleanest in the world.

In the Latrobe Valley, Premier John Brumby announced a $110 million fund to establish new large-scale, pre-commercial Carbon Capture Storage ( CCS ) demonstration projects and $12.2 million to create Clean Coal Victoria in the Latrobe Valley, an organisation dedicated to maximising the value of Victoria’s brown coal resources.

A further $5.2 million will go towards investigating carbon storage sites in the Gippsland basin to better understand carbon storage potential through research and modelling of the region’s geology.”

6) And yet more: “Draft carbon capture laws unveiled” Sydney Morning Herald

“Resources Minister Martin Ferguson has unveiled draft legislation to establish the world’s first framework for carbon dioxide capture and geological storage (CCS).”

The race for legislation looks more active than the race to actually build anything!

7) But it’s not all good news for down there:

“BP, Rio Cancel $2 Billion Australian Power Project”

“Rio Tinto Group, the world’s third- largest mining company, and BP Plc, Europe’s second-largest oil producer, canceled a plan to build a coal-fired power plant in Australia that would capture and store carbon to cut emissions.

The plant at Kwinana, which was being studied by the Hydrogen Energy joint venture between Rio and BP, won’t be built after it was found that rock formations wouldn’t seal in carbon dioxide, said Rio spokesman Nick Cobban. The project would have required $1.5 billion to $2 billion in investment, according to the venture’s estimates.”

8) “Shell’s support for carbon capture plant raises hopes for emissions cuts” Independent

“Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to invest in one of the largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in the world.

The oil major’s decision yesterday to co-sponsor the final stage of the £80m Weyburn-Midale CO2 Monitoring and Storage Project in Canada comes on the heels of BP’s decision to pull out of a major CCS pilot plant in Australia, after last year cancelling another project in Peterhead, Scotland.”

9) “DOE to spend $1.3 bil on ‘multiple’ coal plants with CCS systems”

“The US Department of Energy will offer $1.3 billion under its restructured FutureGen project to help build “multiple” coal-fired power plants with carbon capture and storage, Under Secretary of Energy Bud Albright said Wednesday.

Albright said there the agency would make $290 million available in fiscal 2009 with $1 billion more in coming years to allow for integrated gasification combined cycle plants to begin operating by 2015. Projects willbe selected by December, just weeks before President Bush leaves office.

Companies could expect to get awards ranging between $100 million and$600 million, he added.”

10) Finally (gasp..) nearer to home (very close if you live in Edinburgh):

“Procedures to regulate carbon capture” Scottish Government News

“Scotland will have clear and consistent procedures to regulate revolutionary carbon cutting technology, Jim Mather said today.

The Scottish Government has introduced a Legislative Consent Motion to allow for the introduction of a common framework across the UK for carbon capture and storage.”

That’s all folks (all?)


— Dr Mark Wilkinson GeoSciences University of Edinburgh The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

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