Wednesday, October 22, 2008

IEA Report Calls For $20 Billion To Prove CCS Technology

Oct 20: A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris warns that carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) technology is necessary to deal with greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions emissions; but, many unknowns remain. IEA says CCS is one of the most promising technological solutions to GHG emissions and "to salvage our climate. Still, many questions remain." In the report, Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage: A Key Carbon Abatement Option, the IEA points out that to date, only four full-scale CCS projects exist in the world; and none of these projects captures carbon dioxide (CO2) from a coal-fired power plant. Nobuo Tanaka, IEA Executive Director said, "The window of opportunity is closing for the global community to cost-effectively address climate change. CCS technologies must play a key role, but first they must be proven in the next decade.”

The new IEA study demonstrates that CCS can deliver cost-effective emissions reductions, but governments and industry must come forward to finance large-scale CCS demonstrations and to work together more widely. Tanaka said, “The IEA can help with this collaboration. If we do not successfully demonstrate CCS soon, it will raise costs significantly for other climate mitigation options”.

In a release, IEA indicated that "under current energy policies, greenhouse gas emissions are projected to grow rapidly, with a major contribution coming from fossil fuel combustion in power plants and industry. The IEA, in its 2008 Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP) study, projects that energy-related CO2 emissions would grow by 130% until 2050 in the absence of new policies. This increase would largely be a result of increased fossil fuel usage. The 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 4th Assessment Report indicates that such a rise in emissions could lead to a temperature increase in the range of 4-7oC, with major impacts on the environment and human activity. There is a large consensus that a halving of energy-related CO2 emissions is needed by 2050 to limit the expected temperature increase to less than 3 degrees. Meeting this formidable challenge will take an energy technology revolution. The massive changes will involve enhanced energy efficiency, increased renewable energies and nuclear power, and the decarbonization of power generation from fossil fuels."

The IEA report finds that current CCS spending and activity levels are "nowhere near enough to achieve the G8 goals. CCS technology demonstration has been challenged by a global increase in costs and a lack of suitable financial mechanisms to support it. Foremost, the IEA believes that up to USD 20 billion is needed for near-term demonstrations, in addition to the plants base costs. It is also important to integrate CCS into greenhouse gas (GHG) regulatory and incentive schemes."

IEA notes that, "While progress is underway in some countries, no country has yet developed the comprehensive, detailed legal and regulatory framework that is necessary to govern effectively the use of CCS. Also, CCS is poorly understood by the general public with the result that there is a wide-spread lack of public support for this technology as compared to several other GHG mitigation options." On July 15, U.S. EPA announced its proposed rule to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) geologic sequestration to prevent industrial emissions the greenhouse gas (GHG) [
See WIMS 7/15/08].

Access a release from IEA (
click here). Access a 5-page executive summary of the report (click here). Access links to various illustrations and information on obtaining the complete report (click here). [*Climate]