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Mississippi offers insight into Carbon Capture

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Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism

Mississippi offers insight into Carbon Capture 18 January 2012

One of America’s largest electricity generators, Southern Company, is constructing pioneering technology to create one of the world’s first power stations equipped with carbon capture technology.

Supported by the United States’ Department of Energy, the Kemper County integrated gasification combined cycle plant is scheduled to commence operation in 2014 and will have an electricity generation capacity of over 500 megawatts of power. Using lignite as a fuel source, the plant has been designed to capture 65 per cent, or 3 million tonnes, of CO2 emissions per annum.

Visiting the plant construction site in Mississippi on Monday 16 January, the Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP, said this project was an instructive case study, which will add to the global CCS knowledge base and demonstrates the potential to deploy CCS technologies to power generation and other industrial processes utilising low rank coal reserves.

“With around 75 per cent of Australia’s electricity currently generated from coal, Australia like the US, is serious about examining the potential of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies,” Minister Ferguson said.

“Historically, coal fired power has allowed Australia access to some of the cheapest electricity in the world. Our vast coal reserves, including substantial lignite reserves in the Latrobe Valley, have also supported jobs and economies.

“As we move to lower greenhouse gas emissions new generation CCS technologies offer the potential to preserve jobs while at the same time reducing our emissions profile.

“Cost and technological barriers are the major challenges inhibiting the widespread deployment of CCS, however the Kemper County project suggests that these barriers are not insurmountable, particularly where these first of a kind projects have a market for the CO2, such as the enhanced oil recovery process Kemper County will be accessing.

“The Australian Government is committed to testing all potential technologies - that’s why we are creating the $3.2 billion Australian Renewable Energy Agency as well as supporting projects through the Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships Program.

“Testing the viability of CCS at commercial scale is pivotal to Australia’s long-term carbon-emission targets. We remain on track to realise the potential of this technology.

“By understanding the challenges and advances that our international colleagues are making, we can help advance home-grown innovation in Australia.”

Australia and the United States continue to work together on CCS including through the Global CCS Institute, the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, the International Energy Agency, the Clean Energy Ministerial Forum and the Carbon Capture Use and Storage Action Group.

Recent CCS milestones in Australia include:

• the selection of the Collie South-West Hub in Western Australia as the first Flagship project; • the development of a portfolio of world-class pilot and demonstration projects; • support for the world-leading Gorgon CO2 injection project; • implementation of a comprehensive and nationally-coordinated CCS research and development effort; • significant efforts in CO2 storage exploration including implementation of the National CO2 Infrastructure Plan; and • the development of key policies and legislative frameworks to enable CCS project development.

Media Contact:

Cathryn Tilmouth - 0401 222 941

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