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9781847559715-00065

9781847559715-00065

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Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) inAustralia
ALLEN LOWE, BURT BEASLEY AND THOMAS BERLY
1 Background
Australia is a country with large land area, relatively small population and highGDP per capita (7.7millionkm
2
, 20.8 million people and $A50 700, respectivelyin 2007/08; ref. 1). The population is geographically dispersed around the coastof the country, predominantly in a small number of large cities and urban areas.Coupled with the high GDP per capita, is a high per-capita annual energyconsumption (274 GJ in 2006/07; ref. 2) based on extensive use of privatetransport and the development of energy-intensive industries dependent onaccess to historically cheap, primarily coal-based, energy. This has resulted inAustralia in 2006 having an annual per-capita equivalent carbon dioxide(CO
2
e) emission of 28.1 tonnes (including emissions from land-use change andforestry) .
3
This is among the highest in the developed world. However, becauseof its small population, Australia makes a relatively minor contribution (1.5%)to total global emissions of greenhouse gases.The country has a high level of education and actively contributes to theworld research effort in many areas, including global-warming science. This hasresulted in a population that is broadly conscious of global-warming issues andof Australia’s position as a high per-capita CO
2
emitter. There is also a strongenvironmental movement in the country, where Green groups hold seats inboth Commonwealth and State Governments. There is strong opposition tomany large projects on environmental grounds. Coal-based power, mining andinfrastructure projects, particularly, are subject to opposition from environ-ment action groups.
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Issues in Environmental Science and Technology, 29Carbon Capture: Sequestration and StorageEdited by R.E. Hester and R.M. Harrison
r
Royal Society of Chemistry 2010Published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, www.rsc.org
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Australia is energy rich with large reserves of coal that are both relativelycheap to mine and located close to major load centres. Resources of natural gasand uranium are also substantial, but are mostly located far from majordomestic markets or, in the case of uranium, not used for energy supply locallydue to political and environmental opposition. The nation’s oil reserves aresignificant, but reserves are declining in the face of continued production andthe absence of new discoveries. However, Australia’s plentiful resources of oilshale, coal and gas could support conversion to liquids if required, albeit atincreased CO
2
-emission levels.Access to cheap energy resources has provided Australia with competitivelypriced energy domestically. In particular, coal now provides approximately83% of Australia’s electricity, with Australia having among the lowest elec-tricity prices in the developed world. This low-cost energy has also allowed thedevelopment of large energy-intensive industries such as aluminium smeltingand alumina production.Energy-based commodities provide a major source of income to Australia,with coal (thermal plus coking) being the largest single export-income earnerand comprising approximately 16% of total Australian export income for2005/06. Crude petroleum, aluminium, alumina and natural gas are also allwithin the top 10 exports by value (both crude and refined petroleum productsare also among Australia’s largest imports). Australia’s high GDP per capitapresently depends strongly on access to cheap energy resources.Australia has a market economy based primarily around service and mineralextraction industries, while the Australian manufacturing sector is relativelysmall. Australia’s small population and geographical isolation do not support alarge heavy-manufacturing industry and the majority of power generation andcarbon-capture technology probably will be imported.Historically, utilities such as electricity and water were provided by Stategovernments. However, progressive market reform has led to the breakup andprivatisation or corporatisation of many of these former State-owned entities.The economic reforms have also resulted in a fully competitive market forelectricity. The states of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Aus-tralia and Tasmania are all interconnected
via
the south-east grid and power onthis grid is actively traded
via
the National Electricity Market (NEM).The electricity industry is a major emitter of greenhouse gases, beingresponsible for 198 million tonnes of CO
2
e, or about 35% of the nation’s totalCO
2
e emissions, in 2006. Following the market reforms, the industry is com-prised of a mix of small (by international scale) local utilities and larger mul-tinational companies where power stations in Australia are part only of theirbroader international portfolio.That Australia’s economic well-being will continue to be based on low-costcoal for electricity generation, energy security and export income for some timeto come, has been well recognised by successive governments and also some keyenvironmentalactiongroups.However,globalwarmingisalsoprojectedtohavea serious impact in Australia, with increased drought and bushfire risk,decreased food production and increased risk of loss of native fauna and flora.
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Allen Lowe, Burt Beasley and Thomas Berly
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There is therefore also a recognition that, because of Australia’s position as acarbon-intensive economy and as a developed and scientifically advancednation, it has a responsibility to take strong action to develop CO
2
-mitigationstrategies for fossil fuels, to apply these strategies domestically and to assist ourneighbours and energy customers do likewise. To this end, Australia has nowset long-term targets for CO
2
e emissions at 60% of year 2000 emissions, to beachieved by 2050.Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is seen as a key strategy for achieving thistarget. The implementation of CCS in Australia will require at least the fol-lowing prerequisites to be in place:
Technology: CCS technology must be available at commercial scale fromreputable suppliers able to offer performance guarantees.
Commercial: the CCS project must be financially viable in a competitivemarket place.
Regulatory: the regulatory environment in which the projects operate mustbe clear and transparent.Numerous initiatives have been taken in Australia over some years to putthese prerequisites in place. While no commercial CCS project is yet inoperation, substantial progress has been made in each of these areas. Thischapter briefly reviews the status of CCS in Australia as at early 2009 withreference to each of these prerequisite areas.It is seen that the implementation of CCS is a major undertaking, requiringmany years of effort at all levels within industry, commerce, education andgovernment. However, despite these challenges, CCS remains one of the keyavenues available to Australia to achieve its long-term greenhouse gas (GHG)reduction targets.
2 CCS Programs and Strategies
2.1 General Policy
Successive Australian Governments have supported a wide range of climate-change initiatives, including CCS. At a national level, Australia is a signatoryof the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC), ratifying in 1992. Australia also participated in the UNFCCCKyoto Conference of Parties that established the Kyoto protocol with itsbinding commitments to the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs).However, whilesigning the protocol and setting policies to achieve the agreedtargets, the Australian Government initially refused to ratify, on the basis thatdoing so would compromise jobs and that actions on GHG reduction requiredthe inclusion of the developing economies. Ultimately, following a change ingovernment in 2007, the Kyoto Protocol was ratified and came into effect withrespect to Australia in 2008.
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Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in Australia
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