Audit office slams Australia's dud investments in "clean coal" | RenewEconomy

Audit office slams Australia’s dud investments in “clean coal”

Audit office slams Australia’s CCS funding programs, saying $450 million spent, and nothing achieved: Not a single tonne of CO2 saved, no technology ready for deployment, from a scheme that has been a governance catastrophe.

Alpha Males and the Lump of Coal.
Alpha Males and the Lump of Coal.

Clean coal may be a marketing term that you can still read in the Murdoch press and hear on the ABC, but the technology remains nothing more than a fantasy – and a point of distraction and a lacquered prop for the fossil fuel industry and its proponents.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has published a damning assessment of Australia’s carbon capture and storage program, noting that more than $450 million has been invested by the government over the past decade, and nothing achieved.

Not a single tonne of CO2 has been saved, no technology is ready for deployment, and the ANAO report slams the government for having no strategic direction, no oversight over the projects, and little accounting for the spending.

Australia’s CCS programs were launched by former prime minister Kevin Rudd in 2007 and 2009 as part of his climate package, and the vision then – despite enormous skepticism that the technology was a crock – was to have 20 plants up and running  by 2020, so Australia could “lead the world”.

The technology was championed by Labor energy minister Martin Ferguson and the Coalition’s Ian Macfarlane. Ferguson warned the “lights would go out” without it. Both Ferguson and Macfarlane now work for major fossil fuel lobby groups and are still campaigning relentlessly against renewables.

The ANAO report focuses on two of the federal government’s “clean coal” initiatives – the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Flagships program, and the National Low Emissions Coal Initiative (NLECI).

“Key performance measures for the programs provide limited insight into the extent to which the programs are achieving the … strategic objective of accelerating the deployment of technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” ANAO notes.

Indeed, at one point, the only performance measure monitored by the department of science and industry was the number of programs, not what the programs were actually doing or, as it turns out, not doing.

The NLECI was assigned $500 million and given the task of demonstrating “clean coal” technologies, including CCS, by 2015, and making them available for commercial deployment by 2020.

It spent $233 million, but nothing happened, and it was a farce from the get-go. ANAO notes it had no program guidelines or risk management plans in place.

Three of the five initiatives didn’t happen because of technology and cost issues; there was no clear rationale in selection of replacement projects and there is no detailed assessment of what, if anything has been achieved.

The CCS Flagships program fared little better. The government originally proclaimed it would result in “at least 20 large-scale, integrated CCS demonstration projects” being launched globally by 2010, for broad deployment of CCS by 2020.

It was initially promised $2 billion, but this was gradually wound back, presumably as successive governments recognised what a complete boondoggle the technology was.

CCS Flagships ended up spending $217 million and another $42 million is committed. According to ANAO “none of the CCS Flagships projects met the original timeframe or reached the stage of deployable technology as originally envisaged in the program design.

“It is therefore unclear whether the program is capable of delivering on its strategic policy objective as the program is due to close in 2020 and all funding is currently committed.”

Nearly every paragraph of the report is a damning assessment of what is clearly government and bureaucratic incompetence.

Some examples:

“Program guidelines were not subsequently developed to provide advice to departmental staff on project selection, decision making processes, and applicant requirements.”

“Specific conflict of interest arrangements were not in place at the commencement of the program.”

“Despite the program being in operation since 2008, the first risk management plan for the program was not completed until the first quarter of 2011–12.”

Projects in NSW were closed early because, farcically, it turns out there were no storage options.

On the flagships, the government must have had a sense that most projects would fail, so it wanted to fund as many as possible. Some $4 billion was considered before being reduced to $2 billion.

In the end, a fraction of that was spent, there was “no over-arching strategy”, and nothing succeeded.

The projects funded, including the notorious Zerogen project, have all failed. “None of the projects have met the original timeframe of the program. Reasons for this include: technical feasibility; absence of suitable storage options; and financial feasibility,” ANAO notes.

The most extraordinary part of the report goes to the assessment of whether it was all worthwhile. Clearly not, but you wouldn’t know that from the program details.

As ANAO notes:

Currently, there is no transparent framework in place to publicly report program outcomes. The department has established one performance measure for each program, related to the number of projects supported (NLECI) and the number of companies supported (CCS Flagships). However, these measures provide limited insight into whether the program is achieving its strategic policy objectives.

anao cca

Amazingly, the department is congratulated for having “exceeded” this, the one and only key performance indicators, because it supported more projects than it planned. Little matter that they were all complete duds.

“As shown in Table 4.7, for the period 2014–15 to 2015–16, the department has met, and for the CCS Flagships program in 2015–16 exceeded, the performance targets set for the program,” ANAO notes, before going on to suggest that the number of projects may not provide insight enough.

“The CCS Flagships program has not been evaluated despite over eight years of operation,” it notes.

That’s not surprising. It is probably too much to expect of the government department to admit – like many coal industry executives – that clean coal is a myth, and a waste of everyone’s time and money.

It takes the breath away.

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  1. Alan S 3 years ago

    Let’s not forget the $11M for a rainmaking system that then Environment Minister M Turnbull was prepared to give to the Australian Rain Corporation back in 2007.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      And who exactly is behind this ‘Australian Rain Corporation’?

      • rob 3 years ago


        • TechinBris 3 years ago

          Don’t go there. You will regret it.

          • rob 3 years ago

            No regrets here!

      • Roger Brown 3 years ago

        A donor to the LNP !

        • Joe 3 years ago

          …raining dollars into the coffers of The COALition.

  2. tsport100 3 years ago

    How broken is the system that can waste of hundreds of millions of public funding on what could best be described as fraudulent technical claims without someone – anyone being held accountable?

    • PaulC 3 years ago

      Very broken. The job of parliament and associated committees is to scrutinise such ‘investments’. But political gridlock in successive govts has meant strange things get waved through. In part, we can point to past attitudes which demanded perfection (Yes, Greens!) rather than compromise, thus blocking improved outcomes. [To quote Voltaire: “Perfect is the enemy of good”.]

      And this is where our pollies fail us: Politics is about the art of the possible and about bringing the majority of people with you. But ours fail to engage and persuade, preferring to lecture and obfuscate to pursue their agenda. Quite simply: When they want our opinion, they’ll dictate it to us.

      How do we fix that? No idea.

  3. Warner Priest 3 years ago

    What a shame, with $500M we could have seeded a new Green Hydrogen industry that would not only help Australia to reduce its GHG emissions but also much of Asia. Green Hydrogen export would lead to a large new export industry for Australia, the large utility scale PEM Electrolyzers would also stabilize our grid, decrease energy costs and create the new jobs required as the world transitions away from fossil fuels to renewable fuels.

    • André Balsa 3 years ago

      Just like “clean coal”, there is no such thing as “green hydrogen”. Australia has an incredible potential for solar and wind, and hydrogen is totally irrelevant as an energy transportation liquid.
      To stabilize the grid there are many renewables options, “green hydrogen” schemes rank among the least feasible and least economically attractive ones.
      By the way, whatever its color (!), hydrogen is an element and doesn’t require capitalization in the middle of a phrase, like carbon, uranium, oxygen, etc.

      • rob 3 years ago

        wow, that was a tad bitchy…….and it’s colour not color…….just a tad of payback for you to chew on!

        • rob 3 years ago

          By the way ,you are totally wrong about Hydrogen!

        • Pixilico 3 years ago

          Color is American spelling.

          • rob 3 years ago

            Well that shows simply that Americans don’t speak English!

          • Pixilico 3 years ago

            Only you do.

          • rob 3 years ago

            Americans abominate all facets of life!

        • JWW 3 years ago

          I guess André is right, though. Wind and PV for cheap generation, then storage in the form of pumped hydro and batteries. All of these technologies are tried and tested and available today. We just need to toll them out.
          Getting into a hydrogen fuel cycle just seems like unnecessary and expensive complication to me. Sorry.

          • rob 3 years ago

            excess renewables……directed to hydrogen formation with ammonia would make AUSTRALIA a super power! Export to the world!

          • Warner Priest 3 years ago

            Spot on Rob, you got the picture! It is likely that many forms of energy storage will be necessary going forward, but it would be difficult to export our pumped hydro or our charged batteries. With more renewables coming into the the grid we will need to decouple consumption from generation and have some form of seasonal storage, whilst pumped hydro has a role to play and so to do batteries, its hydrogen that has the many value streams as an exportable fuel in the form of ammonia, as a substitute for natural gas, as a substitute for diesel/petroleum as a fuel for transport as a substitute for coal for coking when making steel and many more.

          • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

            Power2Gas will come into its own I suspect when grids like the NEM (or WEM) start approaching 85% RE penetration.

  4. Hettie 3 years ago

    Funny how the Rudd program that should have got a good kicking was the one enthusiastically adopted by the Coalition, while the home insulation and school building programs, which did so much good, employed so many Australians, were the ones the copped all the abuse.
    LNP Lying Nincompoop Posers.

    • Chris Jones 3 years ago

      Yes, the insulation program would have made a material difference to this nation’s CO2 emissions, and it was relatively inexpensive. Compared to half a billion dollars spent on keeping coal relevant longer than it should.

      • Joe 3 years ago

        …they haven’t used enough water to wash that black dirt off their ‘clean coal’. Scrub just a little bit harder, just a little bit longer and presto…’Cleeeeeeeeen Coal”

    • Andrew Roydhouse 3 years ago

      Hettie, unfortunately the school programs were as bad if not worse. The price for the various options went up by a minimum of 40% with three new levels of costs created. Despite the plans being standardised across Australia (such as the NSW High School Blackout Hall being used as the model for every public school Aust-wide. As it’s price went up by over 40% (from the week before the announcement to the day after) it meant that the halls built were one-size smaller than needed for the schools. So the public schools that got them have to split assemblies in to 2 times as they cannot take the entire school enrolment, teachers etc in one sitting.

      Equally they have a ZERO insulation rating, require the lights on at all times due to no windows in the hall itself and have single sheet metals doors that ensure the heat in summer and cold in winter are felt inside the halls. As there are no windows for ventilation – they need to have the double width ‘garage door’ entry doors open which ensures all leaves, and school yard rubbish blows in.

      Even worse – many projects NEVER did the pre-contamination checks. Our local Public Primary school exposed the children, teachers and parents to asbestos for 14 weeks until I finally got WorkCover to attend. The site was closed down instantly, and the final report stated that the site was riddled with asbestos. This was during the prolonged dry spell running into that Xmas which saw the dust & fibres etc blown into the classrooms surrounding the new hall.

      • Hettie 3 years ago

        Unless I am much mistaken, the Royal Commission into the School building program found that only 3% of the buildings, almost entirely in NSW, were over priced. Like most Coalition Royal commissions aimed at discrediting Labor initiatives, it backfired. I don’t doubt your own bad experience, and have no relevant personal experience of the program at all, but have always believed there was a high degree of satisfaction in school communities.

        • Andrew Roydhouse 3 years ago

          Actually the Royal Commission was a seen to be done exercise.
          A large number of public school projects (over 75% in South and Eastern Sydney) were found by parents not to have conducted the supposedly mandatory pre-construction contamination testing. If you do a search you will find many articles mostly from local papers.

          The marking up of costs (and also disappearing solar panels) was documented widely but the RC did not appear to look into it at all.

          Coincidentally – both sides of politics were and are well-lubricated by the construction and property development industry. It was not in anyone’s interests to reveal the cost mark-ups.

          If you do a little searching on Port Macquarie you’ll find a lot of info about the cost mark-ups but oddly no state nor national media ran with it.

          Neither did a single politician despite a large number being sent the detailed docs showing the ‘new’ costs added from a contract for identical hall on same strata and level land.

          Have a look at satellite photos and try and find the ‘included’ solar panels on virtually any of the halls built yet every contract had them in.

          • Hettie 3 years ago

            That information is very disappointing, but honestly, you have to pick your battles, and that is just not one I want to be involved in.
            Politics in general, climate change and renewables, sustain able housing , and the plight of refugees are the things that speak to me.
            That’s enough.
            I feel vaguely guilty that I do not want to follow up on what you are saying, but there it is.

          • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

            One of the key reasons for both the insulation and BER programs and the cash payment of $900 was to avoid an economic downturn during the GFC. From a purely economic aspect these programs WERE effective in their objectives.

            However we all know the insulation program was poorly implemented and we know there were tragic outcomes due to poor oversight and accreditation of installers; cowboys also moved in to take advantage.

            As far as I am aware the BER was well implemented, certainly in Victoria. In the circumstances where there was a requirement to achieve a strong economic stimulus, cost over-runs were less important than deficiencies in building standards. But my understanding was the incidence of serious problems was below 10%.
            If you have different information I’d like a reference to the source please.

          • fehowarth 3 years ago

            The installers where the deaths occurred where electrical firms that have been operating for decades. They were NOT fly by nighters. The employers failed in their duty of care by breaking health & safety laws.How can PM be to blame for people breaking the law.

            In a short period 1 one & quarter homes were insulated.

          • Barri Mundee 3 years ago


            I completely agree that the insulation program achieved its twin objectives of economic stimulus and improved home comfort/energy use reduction/lower CO2 emissions but I am not so sure about the installers. I would add that you can delegate work but you cannot delegate accountability.

            A key issue is haste: the program had to be started ASAP to meet its goal of reducing the impact of the GFC and it did.

            To me it shows governments should always have a list of “shovel-ready” programs that can be activated quickly when a severe downturn threatens.

            BTW, Peter Garret repeatedly warned Rudd of the dangers and problems that were happening. There should have a been a pause and review of installers before re-starting the program.

          • fehowarth 3 years ago

            The allegation tested RC. Found wanting.

        • fehowarth 3 years ago

          You are correct

        • fehowarth 3 years ago

          Kept a lot of businesses going, kept unemployment down. Was about more than building halls. Help bring schools into this century.

      • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

        Andrew couldyou please provide a link to your source(s)?

        • TechinBris 3 years ago

          If it is from Rupert’s Unaustralian, they needn’t bother providing the source of their information, as their info has been proven questionable at the best of times.

        • Andrew Roydhouse 3 years ago

          On the BER most of the material was either uncovered personally or sent to me ‘by accident’ by workers who were appalled at what was really going on.
          However where I managed to get enough exposure/pressure to bear are readily searchable. See below.
          As the person who got the NSW Auditor General to look into the CSELR following my initial independent audit of the supposed business case (See NSW AG report – Gladys B mislead the community and Parliament on CSELR cost blowout and increasing public transport capacity), or the plan to rezone from Centennial & Moore Park through to Botany Bay for 20+ storey high rise (built by 2 of the top 10 donors to both sides of politics coincidentally) including on the land donated to the public in perpetuity (aka Royal Randwick Racecourse) – where I obtained photos of the plans they issued media releases saying that did not exist, or the cover-up of the asbestos & exposure to school cihildren, teachers & parents for over 6 weeks (never mentioned by the Royal Commission nor the mistake fax sent to me by ‘accident’ by the lead contractor in NSW talking about the 40% increase in the costs for the BER Halls, etc etc. Articles in the SMH with wrong school nameoriginally saying it was Randwick Public subsequently corrected.
          Perhaps google my name and Bundock St site where we succeeded in getting a Federal Senate Inquiry into what was labelled the most contaminated site in Australia. The attempted cover-up unfortunately continues to this day – they continue to refuse to test for Agent Orange which we have testimony from ex-naval ratings detailing how it was dumped in numerous sites (everywhere there was a fire hydrant to wash out the 44 gallon drums returning from Vietnam before re-filling at Port Botany).
          Or the illegal donation made by a long time Liberal Party donor before the 2011 State Election that saw the objections by 4 State Govt departments disappear post-election and approx a $400m windfall gain come from the rezoning to a new regime that did not exist in the local Govt area.
          The Royal Commission into the BER argued that their terms of reference were too narrow to be able to examine issues like exposure of school communities to asbestos or other carcinogens, that they could not examine non-performance of contractual terms (pre-commencement contamination testing), nor suitablility of buildings for intended uses (BER public school halls having a ZERO insulation rating and no natural air flow nor natural lighting).
          If you do a little looking you’ll easily find my email address and I can send you some interesting material.
          What happens in the media is mostly a game of ‘seen to be done’. Emails about the asbestos (after 6 weeks of exposure I finally got Workcover to shutdown and protect the site) went to all major parties at both State and federal level and local Fed MP Peter Garrett (Blue Sky Mining…) never once even responded to the school P&C about it. Neither did the Greens, Libs or Nats.
          Neither did they a few years earlier when only the threat of a media release jointly to be issued jointly after Bernie Banton’s funeral together with the Asbestos Diseases Foundation since renamed as the Bernie Banton Foundation) – saw the State Govt partially remediate the most asbestos affected school in NSW. The then school principal put her career on the line by issuing a letter to all parents (at my request) detailing the asbestos being found in numerous areas and suggesting they keep the letter in case anything happened to their children in the decades to come. She subsequently was moved away from the school with no notice and her replacement was directly appointed by the then education minister. Her replacement was ultimately removed following a front page SMH article detailing her intimidation of teachers, children and parents. Nothing like expelling a child if their parent at the P&C meeting asks a question about the continuing asbestos appearing throughout the school, or seeing teacher’s work cut from 5 days a week to 1/2 day a week if they ask questions. But the best was the DET declaring that unless a letter was headed ‘Lodge Formal Complaint’ that the over 50 complaints from both teachers and parents over the course of two years were not recorded as compaints but ‘normal feedback’.
          What the public never get to see in the media stills exists.

          • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

            Andrew, you have not provided a link to your source(s) of information.
            I am sure there were problems-like many programs that were rushed to meet objectives of economic stimulus but I question the scale and severity of the problems.

          • Andrew Roydhouse 3 years ago

            If you read my posts above you will see that I initiated and was ‘privately’ provided with the information. Google SMH Asbestos to get:

            Parents not told about asbestos breaches – The Sydney Morning Herald
   › News › EducationOct 4, 2010 – Hundreds of children and their parents have been left in the dark over breaches in the handling of asbestos
            during construction at schools, it has been … and St Mary’s School
            Dubbo were wrongly identified, and St Paul’s Primary School Camden and
            Rainbow Street Public School Randwick were omitted.

            RSPS was the school that after 6 weeks of denials and cover-ups by the DET, Peter Garrett (local Fed member), Julia Gillard (then Education minister) I finally managed to get NSW Workcover involved who shut down the site 45 minutes after I called – so serious was the asbestos exposure after I described what could be seen – they sent an inspector immediately to come to the school. I was behind the SMH article.

            Other than that, funnily enough there was NEVER one reply from any of the MPs contacted regardless of the party. Coincidently one of the lead contractors made 5 donations to ALP and Libs during the initial stages of the BER. Just coincidental of course. That lead contractor was NEVER prosecuted for failing to conduct numerous pre-contstruction contamination checks. Have a look through the official inquiry’s report for ‘asbestos’ exposure – good luck finding any schools mentioned.

            The workcover report into RSPS (already ranked in the DET online asbestos register as the most asbestos affected school in NSW) described the site as ‘riddled with asbestos’. You can obtain a copy under GIPA if you want definitive proof.

          • Barri Mundee 3 years ago

            Thanks but I still maintain my position that the scale and severity of the deficiencies have been substantially overstated to demonise and discredit Labor’s policy initiatives as part of the GFC.

            For instance this link: to quote:

            “After the 2010 election BER moved under the portfolio of Senator Chris Evans.

            The Taskforce, headed by Brad Orgill, former chairman and chief executive of UBS Australasia, delivered its report to Senator Evans on 15 December 2010. The report found that most of BER projects had been successfully delivered, with only 3% of the schools involved in the program making complaints. Projects in NSW received the most complaints. The third and final report by Brad Orgill found that BER projects in NSW, QLD and VIC overpaid for buildings by more than 25% on average compared to Catholic schools and more than 55% compared to Independent schools.[4] The ANAO investigation into the project ruled that comparison with those projects were not valid as the standards applied to government school facilities were higher.[5][6]

            Economist Joseph Stiglitz commented in August 2010 that the government’s stimulus package, including the BER, was well-designed by world standards and that some waste was inevitable.[7]”


          • Andrew Roydhouse 3 years ago

            1) Do you agree that NOT ONE CHILD should have been exposed to asbestos for weeks? In the 7 schools just in my local area there were over 2,300 pupils, around 120 teachers and 30-40 ancillary staff as well as all the parents/carers coming to the various schools.

            2) I only know about how NSW works. For a school to have ‘lodged’ a complaint it had to be made by the principal – and that is professional suicide. Transfers to Bourke, for example, are used to punish teachers/principals who rock the boat.

            3) Again, I can only talk in respect of what happened in my region but the Catholic schools projects achieved buildings up to 4x the size of the ‘official’ BER public school versions. For example one primary school built a library, 8 classrooms and a covered area cantilevered over a drop. The covered area is about the size of 2.5 basketball courts. For the same cost our local public primary school got a school hall that was too small for the entire school to fit in. Every school hall built under the BER in NSW was one size too small for the school it was built in as the price jumped as described previously.

            4) The standards of the Public school building definitely is not higher. The school halls have no natural light as no windows in the halls and they have a zero insulation rating. As they have no windows they also have no cross-ventilation. Entry is mostly by two ouble width horizintal panel pressed metal doors. So the halls bake in summer and are cold in winter. There is no way that can be described as ‘built to a higher standard’.

      • fehowarth 3 years ago

        RC found otherwise,

    • RWJ 3 years ago

      SO MUCH GOOD??!! Are you kidding. HIP was modelled to cost $300Mn. It ended up costing $1.3Bn—the extra 1 billion in compliance costs. It killed 4 workers. It burnt down 250 homes.

      If that is success, I’d really hate to see failure.

      • Hettie 3 years ago

        You left the N out of your “name.”

      • fehowarth 3 years ago

        Left industry safer for workers. More killed Prevuosly. Wasn’t insulation that killed. Was poor safety conditions within roofs, that no one even up to now show any concerns. Employer lack duty care of care responsible. 1 1/4 million roofs insulated. Businesses not going to bankrupties, jobs preserved. Very successful. Indeed.

  5. Robert Westinghouse 3 years ago

    Stop letting the children (politicians) loose in the engine room. See what has happened the ship has hit a rock again!!!

    • Joe 3 years ago

      …that rock…just wouldn’t by chance be… ‘that little black wonder rock’?

      • TechinBris 3 years ago

        No. It is the fossilised remains of something long dead, that resides within a haunted cavity, that annoyingly wobbles around incessantly on top of the cadaverous necks of neoliberalised politicians, waffling on religiously and endlessly upon Corporate Media and their ABC.
        Unfortunately, their fantasies will be the death of us.

  6. Carl Raymond S 3 years ago

    Martin Ferguson, Ian Macfarlane. Remember those names kids, when you’re wondering how my generation failed to address the CO2 problem on behalf of your generation. Sorry.

    • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

      Two out of hundreds in this country almost as complicate as those two climate criminals.

  7. howardpatr 3 years ago

    Another “win” for Abbott and the climate change denying RWRNJs in the Coalition.

  8. Grpfast 3 years ago

    Our treasurer and finance minister continue to sprout wage cuts, tight monetary policies for you and me, but giveaway millions with little or no accountability. NBN, Murray Darling, SSM and defending coal. Useless two faced barstards!

  9. PacoBella 3 years ago

    A friend of mine with 30 years experience in the oil and gas industry was headhunter for a CCS project at Stanwell in Qld. Although he has rusted-on right wing views and is a staunch climate change denier, he plugged away with best endeavours until his free enterprise spirit was overwhelmed by the bureaucracy running the show. He had a classical science background and eventually revolted when one of the political appointees on the board forbade the use of the word ” risk” in all internal written communications. The were instructed to use the word ” challenge” instead. He pulled the plug after that.

  10. Tim Forcey 3 years ago

    CO2 capture and injection can be used to… (wait for it)… produce more fossil fuels.

    It’s called tertiary or “enhanced” oil recovery.

    The industrial process, and the co-opting of CCS by the oil industry, is described here:

    • Hettie 3 years ago

      Even those programs have been abandoned as being ruinously uneconomic.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      Injecting the ‘crap’ into the ground is just as problematic as belching the ‘crap’ into the atmosphere. What is it that the Fossil Fuellers don’t get about keeping the environment healthy. Oh, I get it, hide it underground where no one sees it and do who knows what damage….FF forever!!!!!

      • fehowarth 3 years ago

        The real question should be not making it safe but are there better options. Inconvenient fact for many, fossil fuel not needed.

  11. Glynn Palmer 3 years ago

    I read reports that indicate CCS is a proven technology. EG “Australian Power Generation Technology Report. It gives the LCOE’s of various technologies in 2015. For black USCP coal the LCOE is $80 and the emissions intensity is 773 kg/MWh. With CCS the LCOE is $169 with emissions intensity of 106kg/MWh. CCS consumes between 10% – 40% of the power station output.

    The secret report the Queensland government got on the viability of a 750MW coal power station in North Qld had the LCOE at $75 MWh without CCS so I assume the cost has reduced since 2015.

    The CSIRO in their “Low Emissions Technology Roadmap” presented to the Dept of Energy and Environment in June 2017 acknowledged that coal can be a part of a low emissions future. But strictly with CCS bolted on.

    So now with solar PV and wind LCOE’s getting down to $70-$80 MWh, what chance has coal got as a future new build generator of electricity???

  12. Ian 3 years ago

    Well done Giles, for reporting on this important issue. We have known for a long time that CCS was a non-starter and a Furphy to delay coal’s demise, and to allow the development of coal mining and export in this country. Now the truth be out and the cost be known. This is not a prank to be easily dismissed.

  13. Steve Woots 3 years ago

    “Invested” is being too polite. Wasted is more accurate.

  14. André Balsa 3 years ago

    “Clean coal”, as we all know, doesn’t exist anywhere in the world. In Australia, it has been a Ponzi scheme from day one, designed to siphon taxpayers’ money into the pockets of a few criminals and more than a few politicians.
    What really needs some cleaning in Australia is the political sphere.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      ‘Clean Coal’…doesn’t exist…but, but The COALition and Rupe’s newsrags are always banging on about building ‘Clean Coalers’ to replace Hazelwood and Liddell…the very ones supposedly being built all across Asia. And of course rumpy Trumpy is a huuuuuge fan of the Clean Coal as well. I just can’t believe that we / the punters are being lied to about ‘Cleeeeeeeeen Coal’.

      • André Balsa 3 years ago

        Rupert Murdoch’s media empire has been aligned with fossil fuel interests forever. Indeed, the amount of misinformation they have spread about fossil fuels, climate change, energy policies, etc is just shocking.

        • Joe 3 years ago

          Yes, yes, yes and Rupe’s paying punters lap it all up without a second thought or question. The contradiction to the Rupe’s current campaigning against everything RE is that not so long ago his Aussie papers were spruiking their very own ‘1 degree’ campaign. This was Rupe’s newspapers campaign to be environmentally friendly. I guess that doesn’t fit anymore when you are in constant campaign mode on behalf of The COALition against Labor, Greens, Environment protection organisations etc….forget the welfare of the Planet when it is COALition Government… at ALL COSTS!

  15. Ian 3 years ago

    How do you normalise and sanitise the Coalition’s Energy Polices? You gloss them up of course. Wrap them in shiny words and tie them together with shiny renewables phrases and tweet-tinsel. Check this out, it even has a section on CCS, it’s an awesome ‘piece of work’:

  16. Peter Davies 3 years ago

    Its worse than that, private companies that have demonstrated practical “Clean coal” technologies are not only unfunded, data they supplied in confidence was on-sent to “preferred public sector partners” who then got millions in subsidies to replicate, but failed because they did not have the originating technology…

  17. Thucydides 3 years ago

    Taxpayer funded “clean coal” scam was exposed back in 2013 when its booster-in-chief was minister for screwing the environment, Greg Hunt. Clean coal is an old oxymoron that keeps on giving, like “honest politicians”.

  18. Alen T 3 years ago

    Giles, to be fair, Ian Macfarlane is no longer “relentlessly campaigning” against renewables.

    His recent comments, since joining the QRC, have been quite subdued towards renewables, and he said on a few occasions now that he is “all for renewables” that are part of an electricity mix in energy resources.

    There is plenty of anti-RE noise over here, especially during the recent Qld state election campaign, but I would say Ian Macfarlane is no longer a (loud?) voice against renewables- actually he’s almost at pains to portray he’s not anti-renewables. His rationale (his own words), renewables require coal to manufacture (esp. coking coal) so they are therefore good and support Queensland’s resource sector.

    • Giles 3 years ago

      You’re kidding me. Macfarlane openly and vocally supported the LNP energy policy, which was to stop any incentives for renewables and to build a new coal generator near Townsville. A policY that is about as dumb and ideological as it gets.

      • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

        Yeah, weren’t MacFarlane, Ferguson and McDonald all were at pains to paint a unity LIb/Lab ticket on coal fired power when lecturing us on energy policy in our parliament?

        Greenhouse mafia isn’t to far off it, and the pay-offs are evident in their post-parliamentary sinecures/lobbying roles.

  19. Rob 3 years ago

    On many occasions COALition MPs, including the Prime Minister, have mentioned the term “clean coal” in Parliament as if it exists, or as if it can definitely be achieved. They should now be censured for deliberately misleading the Parliament and the Australian people. When are we going to make it a criminal offence to mislead and lie in Parliament?

  20. phred01 3 years ago

    Michael Bloomberg concurs

  21. Alastair Leith 3 years ago

    Released just in time for Christmas trash news cycle.

  22. Hume 3 years ago

    Sure this isn’t the script for the latest “Utopia” episode??

  23. Phil 3 years ago

    Australia never did embrace manufacturing renewable energy products in any significant volume.

    So it should be no surprise clean coal is no different

  24. Chris Small 3 years ago

    I think this settles the argument on whether (modern) nuclear technology should be deployed.

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