The broadening of political support for carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) is a big step along the path towards least-cost emissions reduction in Australia.
The Federal Labor Party’s backing for CCUS, announced today, means that CCUS now has bipartisan support.
CCUS is a safe, proven and reliable technology which can be applied to the capture, transport, injection, and geological storage of carbon dioxide sourced from the power, industrial and bio-energy sectors.
Carbon dioxide can be safely and permanently stored deep underground. Captured CO2 can also be used in a broad range of industrial processes from enhanced oil recovery, construction materials and in food production.
Australia is well positioned to deploy CCUS with its significant storage potential and highly skilled workforce, as well as its existing federal and state-based legislative and regulatory frameworks.
CCUS was highlighted in the MCA’s Climate Action Plan, released this week, as an important technology in helping Australia to achieve net zero emissions in coming decades.
Australia has several highly prospective geological storage sites in Queensland, Victoria and WA and work is also being undertaken in SA and on offshore storage sites in the NT.
Australia already hosts four significant CCUS projects – the Gorgon CO2 Injection Project on the North West Shelf (between 3.4 and 4 million tonnes of CO2 per year), CTSCo and the Queensland Carbon Hub in the Surat Basin, the CarbonNet multi-user storage facility in Gippsland, and the Otway research facility in the Otway Basin.
Globally, there are 51 large-scale CCUS integrated facilities: 21 operational, two in construction, and 28 under development.
The MCA’s Climate Action Plan also highlighted technology including through operational efficiencies, deploying low emissions technologies including renewables, hydrogen, advanced small modular nuclear reactors, as well as digitisation, automation and electrification.
These technologies are particularly relevant in Australia as we have an abundance of minerals to support their use and they offer the potential to decarbonise power supplies on and off grid and in meeting the energy and transport needs of Australian industry and households.
Labor needs to keep an open mind on all technologies to reduce emissions. Nuclear power is already used in France and Canada where it provides 24/7, zero emissions baseload power for businesses and households.