Construction starts for world’s first large-scale coal-based CCS project

The carbon dioxide is expected to be largely sold to oil companies for enhanced oil recovery, which means its permanent storage may also require incentives for keeping it in the ground. Saskatchewan is the largest per capita emitter of greenhouse gasses in Canada due to its reliance on burning coal for energy. It is one of the highest emitters per capita of any jurisdiction in the world, more than 70 tonnes carbon dioxide per person annually, according to the Saskatchewan Environmental Society. Therefore it has been very important for the provincial government to go ahead with this CCS project, writes The Canadian Press.

– We’re positioned to play a leadership role, we can demonstrate that this is scientifically sound and economically affordable, said Rob Norris, Sascatchewan minister responsible for the province-owned utility SaskPower.

No more waiting
The Saskatchewan government has been waiting for the Canadian government to decide on emission rules. Now the provincial government goes ahead anyway, saying it can no longer wait for approval.

– There’s a lot of equipment that has been queued to be built around the world and those things can’t be put on hold for too long because then you pay penalties if the project doesn’t go ahead. Our decision was, do we stop and then wait for federal regulations or do we go with the business case which is sound?, said SaskPower vice president Mike Monea.

The Boundary Dam has an 824 megawatt capacity and was scheduled for renovation in any case. One unit will be equipped with CCS. Construction is to begin immediately and the unit should be working by 2014, with the capacity to produce 110 megawatts of power. The project is expected to create about 6,000 man-years of employment and employ about 600 people at peak construction times.

Niklas Kalvø Tessem

niklas@bellona.no