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Australian government takes balanced view with low emission strategy

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Coal,

The Australian coal industry supports the government’s sensible policy which recognises the role of Australia’s high quality coal in helping to curb emissions.

If the policy intent is all about reducing emissions that should have a technology neutral approach and that means considering the opportunity coal offers when using both high efficiency low emission (HELE) and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Including CCS in the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) ambit strengthens Australia’s capacity to lower emissions in the supply of electricity.

It is clear Australians want power that has 24/7 availability and is affordable. Base load coal offers this and it now has a low emissions pathway.

The adoption of HELE is well established globally and in particular in Asia where some 725 plants are already operating and 1142 are under construction or planned. These plants reduce emissions by up to 40% to 50% compared with the oldest technology in place.

The next step is CCS which can reduce greenhouse emissions by up to 90%. This is real-world technology, with leading examples in North America already operating in conjunction with coal fired generation.

In Australia coal producers through the COAL 21 Fund have invested AUS$300 million in significant CCS projects and leveraged another AUS$550 million from other sources including the Commonwealth Government. This industry investment will continue including considering opportunities for storage of CO2 in suitable geological formations.

CCS is very much part of the future in Australia in order to maintain affordable energy and other key industries including steel making and cement production. In fact in 2014 the United Nation’s IPCC saw its indispensable role and concluded that achieving 430 to 480 ppm CO2 equivalent levels would be 138% more costly without CCS. The government will now pursue the key priorities for CCS adoption with the Commonwealth government especially given the renewed impetus through the CEFC mechanism. In the past many informed environmental groups have supported CCS approaches and we would encourage this support with this latest Commonwealth initiative.

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