Thursday, April 03, 2008

Coal Miners Rest Easy with Rudd Government Backing More Coal Power Stations

The Rudd Government has backed coal as a major long term player in Australia's energy mix.

New coal-fired power stations in Australia are inevitable and proposals to bury carbon dioxide emissions deep underground are essential if the country it is to tackle climate change, federal Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson stated yesterday as he launched the world's first scientific demonstration of so-called carbon sequestration.

This involves pumping near-liquid carbon dioxide underground for permanent storage in geological formations such as dry oil and gas reservoirs.

The largely government-funded $40 million testing plant near Nirranda will pump carbon dioxide from a naturally occurring reservoir and then compress the gas and inject it 2km underground into an old oil and gas reservoir.

The CO2 will then be monitored for two years to assess the risk of leakages and the potential for the gas to corrode the porous rock that would house it beneath a layer of impermeable rock.

Nearby natural CO2 reservoirs are currently used as a source of CO2 to carbonate soft drinks.

Australia sources about 80 per cent of its electricity from coal.

"We must succeed on this front because Australia as a nation is heavily dependent on fossil fuels for energy," Mr Ferguson said. "Clearly there will be growth in renewables but we are a fossil fuel dependent economy and our major export is coal. In my opinion, we'll see at some point in the future new coal-based power stations in Australia. There is no alternative," the Minister said.

Look for happy news on renewables and the green light for more polluting "clean coal" power plants.

Thanks to the Australian.


Chervil said...

It's a worry that Labor clings to the idea of "clean coal" given that the US may be giving up on the technology due to the very high cost. On January 30, 2008, the Bush administration announced that it was pulling the plug on a joint project with 13 utilities and coal companies to build a demonstration coal-fired power plant in Illinois with underground carbon sequestration because of massive cost overruns. The original cost of $950 million when the project was announced in 2003 had climbed beyond $1.5 billion by early 2008, with further rises in prospect. (source: http://www.earthpolicy.org/)

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