Humanity need not worry about the long-term electricity supply. It will learn to burn the huge coal reserves in Australia, China, Russia, India, USA and South Africa without worrying about C02 emissions.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is the magic technology that offers that assurance.
- The EU has established the “European Technology Platform for zero Emissions from Fuel Power Plants” (ZEP), where industry and EU Commission collaborate for implementing 12 large-scale demonstration projects by 2015. ZEP has been formally endorsed by the European Council and considers CCS to become commercially viable by 2020.
- Norway has 12 years of successful experience of carbon storage, though at small scale. It is developing two full-scale CCS projects. The government’s policy is to authorise new power plants only if they apply CCS technology.
- The Swedish state-owned utility company Vattenfall will complete a 50 MW demonstration project before the end of 2008 and is equipping a 250 MW bloc of its lignite-fired 3000 MW plant south of Berlin with CCS to be completed by 2014. It hopes to reduce the cost of capturing and storing C02 to € 20/t by 2020, i.e. less than the present C02 price of € 25/ton. This coincides with similarly optimistic estimates by the EU Commission.
Assuming CCS to become technically and commercially viable by 2020, global policy makers should draw the following practical conclusions:
- As of 2020, all newly commissioned power plants should be realising zero C02-emissions.
- As of 2030, all existing 50,000 power plants on earth should have retro-fitted to zero C02 emissions. To that end, all international financial institutions should, in due time, engage in unprecedented financing efforts on clean power.
- The G8 should announce its determination to make zero C02-emissions power generation mandatory as of 2020.
- All major C02-emitting countries should follow the G8 lead and instruct fuel-based power plants to convert to carbon capture and storage after 2020.
Implementing these conclusions would be a giant step in the fight against climate change.Author : Eberhard Rhein