Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson AM MP, today welcomed the signing of a $54.3 million agreement between Geoscience Australia, the NSW Minister for Resources and Energy, Chris Hartcher, and the Australian Coal Association to assess potential geological storage opportunities for greenhouse gases in NSW.
“This collaborative NSW Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Storage Assessment Program has been made possible by the National Low Emissions Coal Initiative (NLECI) that was established in 2008 to accelerate the development and deployment of technologies to reduce emissions from coal use,” Minister Ferguson said.
“Each partner has contributed $18.1 million to the NSW program. The funding allows NSW to conduct a pre-competitive data acquisition program to assess suitable sites for CO2. It will enable industry to start making decisions about how and where they will undertake this innovative storage process.
“As the nation’s repository for geological knowledge and capability, Geoscience Australia will be providing technical expertise and oversight into this program.”
The NLECI funding program opens the way for research, demonstration and deployment of low-emission coal technologies involving carbon capture and storage.
Of the $370 million set aside for the NLECI, $50m comes from the National Carbon Mapping and Infrastructure Plan, under which the NSW Program is being carried out.
“This program builds on the outputs of the Carbon Storage Taskforce Report which in 2009 said that four basins in NSW had been defined as suitable storage sites. It is about collecting more and better data in conjunction with the states, with shared funding to conduct a more robust and accurate assessment of the storage potential of these geological basins in NSW,” Minister Ferguson said.
The NLECI is designed to enable Australia’s resource sector to reduce their emissions as the nation moves to a more carbon constrained economy. It is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to promote clean energy and goes towards meeting Australia’s international targets for emission reduction. These technologies will enable the coal industry to make a major contribution to reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent of 2000 levels by 2050.
The NSW CO2 Storage Assessment Program is expected to produce significant additional scientific knowledge of the NSW Basins and will contribute to a national assessment of the geological CO2 storage potential.