On 16th July 2012, the team of the IEA Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP) 2012 jointly presented a webinar entitled “Pathways to a Clean Energy System”, based on their latest report published on the 11th June 2012. Some of the key findings and research underpin the technology assumptions in the World Energy Outlook, which in turn is essential in forming policy and opinion in the global energy economy.
The webinar was the third in a series of three presentations focussing on various aspects of the ETP, this one being on carbon capture and storage (CCS).
In the IEA, there is a positive attitude to CCS, not as a silver bullet, but as a necessary technology, without which the cost of meeting the 2DS (2 degree scenario) would be prohibitive and probably unattainable.
The goal for this analysis is to figure out the lowest cost, yet most feasible pathway to diminish the effects of climate change. The analysis showed that CCS would cost some 10% of the US$ 36 trillion of investment needed to achieve the 2DS scenario, but would yield 20% of the cuts needed to bring about change in future emissions (by 2050).
The omission of CCS from the scenario would bring about a 40% hike in future energy costs, due to a single-minded dependence on natural gas and nuclear. Good news for the gas and nuclear industries, but not so good for the end consumer who will have to pay.
This leads onto a warning given by the IEA, and that is to disconnect CCS from coal-fired power.
Indeed, much of the world’s coal-fired power will need to be fitted with CCS, especially new and recently built plants in the Far East. What few realise is that the 2DS scenario equipped a vast amount of CCS to natural gas CCGT, biomass plants and a host of industrial facilities. Industry is often overlooked by opponents of CCS, in fact many industrial facilities already produce vast quantities of concentrated CO2, perfect for capture and storage. The world has more than 35 years of CCS experience, as much as that with solar and wind power, so it makes one wonder why CCS was so badly neglected for all this time.
Clearly CCS needs more clarity on regulatory and legal frameworks, but also it requires a change in the mindset of the opposition groups and the general public. In Q&A, the question was asked of the risks of the leakage of CO2 storage, to which the reply was what greater risk burden should we face? The risk of small leakage (which could be plugged presumably), or the certain risk faced by the uncontrolled emission of CO2 on a large scale, it really is a matter of priorities.
Web conference: Energy Technology Perspectives 2012
For those of you who were unable to join the web conference, a recording of yesterday’s web conference, The Role of Carbon Capture and Storage in Meeting the 2DS Emissions Reduction Targets in Energy Technology Perspectives 2012, is available on the IEA website.