Australian CCS research to enjoy some renewed funding

Sydney, Australia
Sydney, Australia
Jose Spena, MorgueFile

Publish date: February 3, 2015

The Australian government has made an announcement for AUS $25 million to be provided over the next five years to the CO2CRC Otway Project. However, with the repealing of the Australian carbon price which came into effect from July 2014 and with the decimation of the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Flagships Programme, Australian climate action is still in free fall.

The world and Australia urgently need more and larger projects like the Otway Project to develop CO2 storage capacity. In the absence of CCS the world’s ability to successfully combat climate change would be drastically reduced. Australia currently lacks an effective policy framework to encourage the deployment and use of CCS technologies.

No Ambition, little money

In 2006, the Australian Coal Association launched a 10-year, $1 billion CCS fund, also called the Coal21 fund. This fund will be allocating AUS $10 million to the Otway Project. Despite the alteration of the Coal21 fund in 2012 to include as an objective the promotion of the use of unabated coal, to date only a fraction of the $1 billion fund has been spent on developing and deploying CCS.

The Government intends to achieve savings of $459.3 million over three years from 2017-18 (including $263.3 million in 2018-19 and $33.1 million in 2019-20) from the CCS Flagships Programme. This will leave only $191.7 million over seven years to support existing projects.

Otway Project is CCS investment below the minimum

The CO2CRC Otway Project, currently underway in South-Western Victoria, Australia, aims to demonstrate that CCS is a technically and environmentally safe way of attaining deep cuts in CO2 emissions. The findings of the project will advise public policy and industry decision-makers while also helping to boost public confidence in the permanent CO2 storage.

In September last year the project was awarded €4 million for advancing research at the site. The announcement for an additional €22 million is of significant importance, ensuring continuity of activity can continue at the site to 2020. The research at CO2CRC will be focused, in particular, on high resolution monitoring and verification of stored CO2.

In particular, the intention is to lower the costs of developing and monitoring CO2 storage sites, enhance regulatory capability and build community confidence in geological storage of CO2 as a safe, permanent option for cutting emissions from fossil fuels” said CO2CRC’s new chief executive officer, Tania Constable, commending the funding announcement.