$100 million CarbonNet project to develop Victorian CCS

The Australian and Victorian Governments will collectively provide $100 million towards the development of Victoria’s first carbon capture and storage (CCS) project.

Federal Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson, along with Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources Michael O’Brien, announced the joint commonwealth/state funding to be put towards feasibility studies and surveys.

CarbonNet will be the second project selected for funding under the Federal Government’s Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships program.

The project aims to capture carbon emissions from power plants, industrial processes and new coal-based industries in the Latrobe Valley and store it in geological basins.

The combined funding of $100 million ($70 million from the Commonwealth and $30 million from the Victorian Government) will support feasibility work to demonstrate low-emission brown coal electricity generation in the region.

The Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC) will provide lead research on the project and congratulated the funding injection.

“Victoria’s combination of high carbon dioxide emissions from brown coal and the first-class storage geology in Bass Strait mean that the CarbonNet project is one of the best opportunities around the world to demonstrate significant cuts to greenhouse gas emissions using CCS,” CO2CRC chief executive Dr Richard Aldous said.

The Global CCS Institute also welcomed the funding announcement.

“It is encouraging to see government, both at federal and state level, reaffirm their commitment to CCS as a key tool in an emissions reduction portfolio,” Global CCS Institute CEO Brad Page said.

“Australia’s Flagships program and related initiatives make it a global leader in government support for CCS.”

Mr Page added that the institute was also pleased to see that feasibility studies would include modelling and testing of suitable CO2 storage sites.

“This region shows strong potential for CO2 storage. Our work and international experience indicates that early attention to storage is required if CCS projects are to proceed in a timely fashion,” Mr Page said.

An additional $2.3 million was provided in 2010-11 to CarbonNet through the Global CCS Institute’s strategic partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative. This portion of funding is being used to define the roles of participants involved in a CCS network and to develop a business model and commercial structure for CarbonNet.

“The Clinton Climate Initiative is very pleased to see today’s announcement,” Clinton Climate Initiative program director Tony Wood said.

“We view the deployment of CCS as essential to meeting the global challenge of climate change, and have been working with the Victorian and Australian Governments on CarbonNet since 2008,” he said.

“This project is one of the most promising CCS projects in the world, and providing support through our strategic partnership with the Global CCS Institute reflects that importance.”

The Global CCS Institute announced in January $240,000 support to CarbonNet for a measurement, monitoring and verification study that will build capability around the storage of greenhouse gas emissions. This work will be another valuable knowledge product distributed by the institute to other project proponents for free.