Why policy support for CCUS is so important?

25th Jan 2017

The World Coal Association (WCA) advocates for policy parity for carbon capture use and storage (CCUS) alongside all low emission technologies.

But why is policy parity for CCUS so important?

We’ve seen that strong policy drives strong action. Take, for example the story of renewables. The significant growth in renewable energy technology has been driven by policy that provides $100 billion in subsidies every year. The cumulative value of policy support provided to CCUS by governments to date is approximately 1% of the cumulative value of policy support provided to renewable technologies.

Policy support encourages investment in low emission technology. We’ve seen this with renewables. Consistent, supportive policy and investments have led to improvements in deployment and decreases in costs. The same cannot be said for CCUS, as seen in the chart below. Fluctuating CCUS policies lead to fluctuating progress in CCUS technology.

We need to level the playing field with other low emission technologies, not least because CCUS is a vital part of a cost-effective solution to meeting climate goals. We cannot meet our climate targets without it.

There have been significant steps towards the wider deployment of CCUS. This month, Petra Nova, the first American carbon capture coal-fuelled facility came online with plans to store more than 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 a year. In the port of Tuticorin in India, an unsubsidised, fully commercial CCUS facility provides a significant boost to the carbon capture technology while it has been able to significantly reduce the costs associated with capturing the CO2. And not to forget the landmark Boundary Dam CCS project in Canada that has been operating for more than two years.

Policy parity for CCUS alongside all other low emission technologies will help CCUS get off this roller-coaster and support consistent, widespread, much-needed progress.

A recent report from the Coal Industry Advisory Board to the IEA (pdf) looked at the policies and incentives that can help drive CCUS; I will take a closer look at that in the coming weeks.