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Friday, July 5, 2013

IEA says next seven years are "critical" for CCS

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that the next seven years are “critical” to the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and the ability of governments to limit global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius.

A new IEA report - Technology Roadmap: Carbon Capture and Storage - says that “urgent” and “decisive actions” from governments are needed now to move “deployment of CCS beyond the demonstration phase.”

IEA has been a vocal advocate for the deployment of CCS technology. A report released last year by the organization highlighted the glacial pace of progress on CCS R&D and large-scale projects, and in April, IEA issued a “wake-up call” on clean energy development, including CCS.

Maria van der Hoeven, IEA Executive Director, writes in the Roadmap's Foreword:
It is clear that the world needs to dramatically reduce its energy-related CO2 emissions in the coming decades… 
After many years of research, development, and valuable but rather limited practical experience, we now need to shift to a higher gear in developing CCS into a true energy option, to be deployed in large scale. It is not enough to only see CCS in long term energy scenarios as a solution that happens some time in a distant future. Instead, we must get to its true development right here and now. It is critical that governments, industry, the research community and financiers work together to ensure the broad introduction of CCS by 2020, making it part of a sustainable future… 
The Roadmap finds: 
  • With CO2 emissions rising, the urgency of CCS deployment is only increasing.
  • The individual component technologies required for capture, transport and storage are generally well understood and, in some cases, technologically mature.
  • Governments and industry must ensure that the incentive and regulatory frameworks are in place to deliver at least 30 operating CCS projects by 2020 across a range of processes and industrial sectors.
  • CCS must be applied to electricity generation as well as industrial processes – iron, steel, cement, and chemical production.
  • This decade is critical for moving deployment of CCS beyond the demonstration phase if there is any hope of limiting long term global average temperature increase to 2 °C.

The report describes seven key but “realistic” actions that will require “serious dedication by governments and industry” in the next seven years to lay the foundation for scaled-up CCS deployment: 
  1. Introduce financial support mechanisms for demonstration and early deployment of CCS to drive private financing of projects, such as feed-in tariffs, investment/production tax credits,  portfolio standards, capital grants, and public-private partnerships.
  2. Implement policies that encourage storage exploration, characterization and development for CCS projects.
  3. Develop national laws and regulations that require new-build, base-load, fossil-fuel power generation capacity to be CCS-ready.
  4. Prove capture systems at pilot scale in industrial applications where CO2 capture has not yet been demonstrated.
  5. Significantly increase efforts to improve understanding among the public and stakeholders of CCS technology and the importance of its deployment.  
  6. Reduce the cost of electricity from power plants equipped with capture through continued technology development and use of highest possible efficiency power generation cycles. 
  7. Encourage efficient development of CO2  transport infrastructure by anticipating locations of future demand centers and future volumes of CO2.
CCS is viewed by many as a “dead man walking”.  Without the measures that IEA calls for, that view may prove to be right. 

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