Carbon capture poised to become part of CEFC mandate

The Australian government argues its clean energy financier’s support to the technologies would complement other renewables investments in the country.

The Australian government has proposed to allow the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the country’s clean energy financier, to invest in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.

The current legislative ban on CCS investments will be removed in a bid to bolster accethe Environment and Energy.

Frydenberg pointed out that CCS technologies have been billed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Energy Agency as critical to meeting emission reduction targets. The technologies are expected to have applications in both the power and industrial sectors, where they could help capture as much as 90 percent of the carbon dioxide emitted during production. 

The Turnbull government expects allowing the CEFC to invest in CCS technologies will “complement other low-emissions investment by the federal government, including more than A$3 billion [$2.21 billion; €1.97 billion] worth of wind, solar and storage projects.”

Currently, most existing large-scale CCS projects are in the industrial sector, including in natural gas, fertiliser, hydrogen, iron and steel production, the CEFC said. There are 17 large-scale operating commercial facilities deployed with CCS technology globally, storing around 30 million tons of carbon dioxide every year. 

The Gorgon LNG project in Western Australia will soon become one of the world’s largest CCS projects when it begins sequestering up to 4 million tons of carbon dioxide annually in the coming year, said Frydenberg. The CEFC added that there are several industrial pilot CCS projects either in operation or at the planning stage in Australia. 

The CEFC declined to comment on potential CSS investments while the proposed amendment is being considered by the Australian Parliament. It said it has always complied with the CEFC Act, and will continue to do so. 

Under the current act, the CEFC can back renewable energy, energy efficiency and low-emissions technologies but investments in CCS technologies are prohibited. To date, it has deployed more than A$3.3 billion into clean energy assets, with a total project value of A$8.3 billion. 

“The CEFC receives a steady flow of potential projects relating to a diverse range of clean energy technologies. We are in a continuous process of receiving and reviewing new project proposals and investing in eligible commercial projects,” said the financier.