Energy agency sees Aust leadership role

Katina Curtis
(Australian Associated Press)

The federal government’s push to give taxpayer funding to carbon capture and storage has received a boost from the head of the International Energy Agency.

Fatih Birol met with Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg on Wednesday to discuss new technology, including carbon capture and storage and the high efficiency, low emissions coal-fired power plants it would support.

Dr Birol says a high level of interest in carbon capture and storage around the world is not yet matched by investment.

“There is a broad acknowledgement of the need for CCS across the world but there is a need for leadership here internationally in order to provide momentum,” he told reporters in Canberra after the meeting.

“Australia, in my view, is a very good candidate for that leadership.”

Government support could be through regulation as well as funding, he said.

He noted it was not comparable to renewables on price yet, but believed with government movement costs would come down and the technology would be more accessible.

Mr Frydenberg said the government was still considering its options for support in the area.

He and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have previously indicated a desire to get the $10 billion green bank to finance carbon capture and storage projects, which is now explicitly banned in legislation.

The process involves capturing carbon dioxide from emissions and pumping it into a storage space under rock.

Proponents say it could cut emissions from coal-fired power stations by as much as 90 per cent.

But those opposed to it say the technology is unproven and decades off being commercially viable.

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