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Friday, October 17, 2008

CCS -the mass delusion

I keep on hearing about CCS or carbon capture and storage technologies. Notice in the next two articles, how people discuss the economy of CCS, the way it should be implemented, the results of it, but NOT the technology. From what I've heard to the moment, CCS has been tried in Norway oil platforms, but that it's still way far from success. Isn't it interesting that people keep on discussing something that nobody ever seen working? I don't mind investments in the sector nor in the technology, I know that sometimes the dream needs support before it gets any closer to reality.
BUT! You can't discuss it and explain how good it will be for all of us and how to implemented and how to encourage people to use it, BEFORE you even have it!!! That's building tower of cards. And such towers always fall.
And that kind of politics is called populist and for me is equal to an outright lie. And I don't like it!
And please notice that some people claim the technology will make the heavy polluting coal power plants in Poland good to use. But this technology capture only the CO2, while there are many more gases that pollute and are dangerous to the people and some of them are green house gases also. Why nobody is talking about them?

Carbon storage 'competitive' by 2030, says study

24 September 2008

By 2030, the cost of capturing and storing carbon dioxide emissions from heavy-polluting coal power plants could be reduced to levels where it can compete with other low-carbon technologies, including renewable energies, according to a new study by McKinsey & Company, a business consulting firm.

If successfully rolled out, the technology would allow countries such as Poland and Germany to continue using coal as a major part of their energy mix while meeting their commitment to reduce CO2 emissions, according to the report, which was presented in Brussels on Monday (22 September).

"CCS has potential to play a significant role in the European and global response to climate change by 2030 as the only technology that can address emissions" from coal-fired power plants, the report says. CCS could also reduce emissions from all sort of industrial installations already regulated by the ETS, such as steel, cement and refineries, it added.

"Our reference cases have shown that the costs for integrated CCS projects could come down to 30-45 €/tonne of CO2 abated for new coal-fired power by 2030," McKinsey notes. According to the report, this price range is "in line with expected carbon prices" under the EU CO2 emissions trading scheme (EU-ETS) for that period.

Filling the 'economic gap'

But in the meantime, Europe will be left with an "economic gap" that needs to be filled if CCS technology is to take off. Early demonstration projects, which according to McKinsey are not expected before 2012-2015 "at the earliest", will typically cost 60-90 €/tonne, representing a gap of "0.5-1,1 billion euro per project".

For Europe as a whole, this 'economic gap' is estimated at "around 10 billion euro", according to Chris Davies, a British MEP in charge of steering an EU legislative proposal on CCS through the European Parliament.

According to the study, the main costs in early demonstration plants will mainly be absorbed by the CO2 capture phase, representing roughly two thirds of total costs. The remainder is divided between the transport phase - via existing pipeline networks - and the actual injection of CO2 in underground rock formations.

But both transport and storage costs could vary widely according to the ability to 'cherry pick' projects with favourable storage locations in order to minimise transport distance, the study said. Long-distance transport to a suitable storage location "could increase the cost of transport significantly," it said, potentially adding 10-12 euro per tonne for distances of 200-300 kilometres.

But these are expected to go down as CCS technology moves from the demonstration phase to the early commercial scale (at the beginning of the 2020s "at the earliest", according to the study).

Time is of the essence

But time is running out. According to the report, "if projects are delayed due to difficulties with permits or other uncertainties, CCS could struggle to reach large scale in 2030". To achieve the 2030 goal, it says the first commercial projects would have to be started shortly after the demonstration phase.

In March 2007, EU heads of state and government agreed to build 10 to 12 CCS demonstration plants by 2015 but securing enough funding for the demonstration projects has proved a major obstacle.

A proposal to draw funds from the 'New Entrants Reserve' under the EU-ETS is currently being examined in the European Parliament and could provide a solution (EurActiv 23/09/08).

Chris Davies, a liberal MEP (ALDE) who is steering a legislative proposal on CCS through Parliament, said time was running short to build the 10-12 demonstration plants which EU leaders committed to at the 2007 Spring Summit. "As this moment, one not single one of these demonstration projects has yet been identified," he said, adding that "even a short delay can have a huge significance in terms of the difference it will make by 2030".source

EU nears agreement on funding CO2 capture

23 September 2008

The European Parliament is getting closer to secure funding for emerging technology to capture and store the carbon dioxide emissions of heavy-polluting coal-fired power plants, in an agreement that could bolster the EU's leadership in the fight against global warming.

Chris Davies, the British MEP steering the file through Parliament, is proposing to use 10 billion euro of allowances, earmarked under the EU's CO2 emissions trading scheme, to finance large-scale demonstration projects.

The allowances would be taken from the EU ETS's New Entrant Reserve, a special pool of emission rights earmarked for new installations joining the scheme.

The proposal, which concerns amendments to article 32 of the draft directive, will be voted on in Environment Committee on 7 October.

One of the advantages of the system would be that the overall cap on CO2 emissions, which is set in advance for 27 EU member states, "is not breached," Davies explained, ensuring that total emissions are not exceeded.

But he warned the funds generated would be available only when the CO2 is actually buried underground. "It wouldn’t be just to support the technology; it would be paid for the actual avoidance of CO2 emissions," Davies said, meaning that there would be no European blank cheque to put the money upfront.

"These allowances would probably be channelled through the European Investment Bank," Davies said, to ensure "proper investment from the private sector" and that "no-one is making windfall profits" out of the scheme.

Commission 'openness' to state aid for CCS

Speaking at the McKinsey conference, Andris Piebalgs, the EU energy commissioner, said start-up funding for specific CCS demonstration projects should be provided by the member states because the European Union had no extra budget to allocate. He indicated the Commission's "openness" to member states using state aid to fund CCS plants.

In 2007, the EU committed to building up to 12 large-scale demonstration power plants that use CCS technology to produce electricity from coal or natural gas. Since then, the debate has focused on how to finance the technology, which is still under development and highly expensive.

Support in Parliament likely, strong opposition in Council

The focus is now turning to the Parliament, where a vote is expected in the Environment Committee on 7 October. "The debate has swung in the European Parliament from the original scepticism," Davies said, adding he was "fairly confident of getting a majority in the Committee". Within the Commission, the environment directorate, which had been sceptical, is now warming up to the idea, he added.

However, Davies said "within the Council, there is currently strong opposition to the proposal," expressing his hope that views would converge later on. "I think that's because they are looking at the emissions trading scheme rather than financing CCS," Davies explained. source

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