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ENERGY TECH
Australia scraps coal-fired CCS plant

by Staff Writers
Canberra, Australia (UPI) Dec 20, 2010
Australia has scrapped plans for a $4.3 billion Queensland coal-fired power station with carbon capture and storage capacity.

"We had hoped to have a clean coal power station up and running by 2015 but the fact is that the early research has shown us that this is not viable at this time on a commercial scale," said Queensland Premier Anna Bligh in announcing the decision Sunday, a news release states.

A joint state-commonwealth government and industry-led research project, ZeroGen was to have combined integrated coal gasification open cycle technology with CCS and was touted as likely to be the world's first such facility.

The coal-fired plant would initially have captured up to 65 percent of its emissions, with the potential to capture and store up to 90 percent -- or 2 million tons of carbon dioxide -- to be stored in deep underground sandstone formations.

Bligh said that $190 million had been invested on developing a clean coal power station, with $101 million from the Queensland government and the remaining from the coal industry and the commonwealth.

Noting that the research wasn't wasted, Bligh said the Queensland government "is not walking away from ZeroGen or from clean coal technology."

"In fact, the Queensland government will be spending more on this technology over the next three to four years and we'll be doing it hand in hand with an agreement with the coal industry," she said.

Queensland is Australia's largest producer and exporter of black coal, with the potential to be a major player in natural gas production and exports.

The move is a setback for supporters of CCS with coal-fired power stations as well as for the Australian government, which intends to introduce legislation next year to limit the emissions intensity of coal-fired power stations.

Funding for CCS represents 37 percent of the funding under the Australian government's $5 billion clean energy initiative.

More than 80 percent of Australia's electricity is generated by coal-fired plants, with approximately 88 percent of Queensland's 10,000 megawatts of installed power generation capacity coming from coal.

Ralph Hillman, executive director of the Australian Coal Association, acknowledged that developing and demonstrating low emission technologies such as CCS, solar thermal and geothermal involve "very large expenditures and substantial risks."

"It is essential, however, (that) the governments continue to make the investmentÂ…as all of these technologies will be essential to maintaining energy security while reducing carbon emissions," Hillman said in a statement.

earlier related report
Coal shortage causes power cuts in China: state media
Beijing (AFP) Dec 20, 2010 - A severe coal shortage has forced power cuts in many regions in China as demand surged due to a cold snap across large swathes of the nation over the past week, state media reported Monday.

In the northern province of Shaanxi, 14 major thermal power stations only had four days worth of coal stocks left, with reserves at two power stations already running out, the Global Times said.

Many plants and residents in Shaanxi had received notice of impending blackouts, with a 12,000-household compound in the provincial capital of Xian facing power cuts for the next 10 days, it added.

Similar shortages have also gripped other provinces including coal-rich Shanxi in the north and Henan in central China, as well as the southwestern mega-city of Chongqing, the report said.

China, which overtook Japan in the second quarter to be the world's second largest economy, relies on coal for 70 percent of its fast-growing energy needs and coal combustion has become one of the main sources of its air pollution.

Experts have blamed the shortages on soaring coal prices, insufficient logistics facilities and increasing transportation costs, the Global Times said.

Some power cuts may be unrelated to the coal shortages, as local governments struggle to meet the annual energy efficiency targets set by Beijing, the China Daily said Monday.

China has sought to reduce energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product -- so-called carbon intensity -- by 20 percent by year's end from 2005 levels.

A 15.6 percent reduction was realised from 2006 to 2009, officials said previously. But the figure increased 0.09 percent in the first half of 2010 year-on-year, signalling the difficulties in meeting the 2010 target.

At global climate talks in Copenhagen last year, China pledged that it would reduce carbon intensity by 40-45 percent by 2020 based on 2005 levels.



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ENERGY TECH
Coal shortage causes power cuts in China: state media
Beijing (AFP) Dec 20, 2010
A severe coal shortage has forced power cuts in many regions in China as demand surged due to a cold snap across large swathes of the nation over the past week, state media reported Monday. In the northern province of Shaanxi, 14 major thermal power stations only had four days worth of coal stocks left, with reserves at two power stations already running out, the Global Times said. Many ... read more







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