The Federal Government's own global carbon capture and storage institute; which costs the Australian taxpayer $100 million a year, has acknowledged that controversial "new generation coal" and "clean coal" power will not be commercially viable until the carbon price hits at least $60 dollars a tonne and as much as $112 a tonne depending upon the process selected. That is not expected until at least 2030.
The report highlights that widespread take-up of carbon capture and storage (CCS) is faced with the stark risk of high project failure rates typical with the adoption of new technologies, but that this can be overcome by "targeted project support, and appropriate incentives for development" - in other words, more taxpayer money on top of the $2.4 billion the Labor government has shelled out for research into clean coal.
According to Max Sylvester, co-founder of Energy Matters, "We've paid this institute $100 million a year to tell us something we already knew; however, what it does confirm is this : carbon at $60 a tonne would make wind and solar power even more cost effective; so why bother continuing with filthy fossil fuels when there are cleaner alternatives. This is where more of Australian tax payers money needs to go."
Mr. Sylvester points out that clean coal is a godsend for the coal industry rather than the burden the sector claims it to be. "To create clean coal takes more energy - therefore, more coal. The coal industry is crying poor about it? It's really very puzzling. What will continue to suffer is the environment, as clean coal is not no-emissions coal. Clean coal technologies should at best be seen as an exit strategy rather than a case of business as usual for the coal industry."