Image: © Intrepix / & © gnepphoto /

CCS projects around the world

The situation for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)  in Canada, Norway and Italy.

Canadian scientists protest against CCS support

“We urge you to not introduce the proposed investment tax credit for CCUS because it will constitute a substantial new fossil fuel subsidy. As well as undermining government efforts to reach net-zero by 2050, the introduction of this tax credit would contradict the promise made by your government to Canadians during the election period to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies by 2023 as well as our international commitments under the Paris Agreement.”
This is the beginning of a letter signed by more than 400 climate scientists and other members of academia to Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in Canada, sent in January 2022. Freeland is a member of Justin Trudeau’s government, and of the same Liberal Party.
The group of academics includes two IPCC lead authors and are from diverse fields, including physics, chemistry, engineering, economy, and philosophy, and more.
“Despite the billions of taxpayer dollars spent by governments globally on CCUS, the technology has not made a dent in CO2 emissions,” they write.
Canada has long supported CCS, with several past and future projects, mainly for enhanced oil recovery. Policy favouring CCS, as well as nuclear, is also supported by the right-wing Progressive Conservative Party, the biggest opposition party.
Canada claimed to be a climate leader at the COP in Glasgow.
This is not reflected in the data. Canada had only 4 TWh of solar and 36 TWh of wind in 2020. Its greenhouse gas emissions increased from 602 Mtons to 730 Mtons between 1990 and 2019 according to the UNFCC data. Its coal production has decreased, but gas has increased some 70 per cent and oil production almost trebled since 1990, much of it from tar sands.

Fredrik Lundberg


Boundary Dam CCS far below capacity

Boundary Dam #3, the world’s only coal power CCS project since PetraNova in Texas was shut down indefinitely, has not lived up to expectations.
“The carbon capture facility at Boundary Dam was designed to capture 3,200 metric tons of CO2 daily, or slightly more than 1 million metric tons annually. It has barely achieved that goal on any single day and has never done so over any extended period,” according to David Schliessel at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. His analysis covers the period up to the first quater of 2021.
During the rest of 2021 performance has been even worse, according to SaskPower, which operates Boundary Dam. To judge from its charts, it captured less than half of its designed capacity of one million tonnes a year.
The company’s website asks the question “Why Carbon capture and storage on coal?” and answers: “By capturing and safely storing CO2 emissions before they reach the atmosphere, we can help ensure a brighter future for both our province and the world.”
This defence of coal (in this case brown coal) is not up to date, as the Canadian government has promised to phase out coal power by 2030 and has gone a long way towards doing so. It produced more than 100 TWh in 2005 and no more than 36 TWh in 2020.
SaskPower has decided not to retrofit the sister plants Boundary 4 and 5 with CCS, as there was “simply no business case” to do so. It has already shuttered one and will shutter the other by 2024.
SaskPower is not transparent on where the captured CO2 ends up. Some of it goes to enhanced oil recovery and some is supposed to go into geological storage, but it gives no data on how much goes to which, nor how much actually goes straight up into the air.
The economics of the project were criticised early on and Canada’s parliamentary budget office concluded that it would double the cost of electricity. That was in 2016 when the poor performance was not yet known.

Fredrik Lundberg


Norwegian CCS project going ahead

In September 2020 the Norwegian government initiated a Carbon Capture and Storage project called the Longship. The CO2 storage part is called the Northern Lights project. CO2 will be captured at a cement factory in Porsgrunn, Norway. From there it will be transported by ship to a terminal on the west coast, near Bergen. The CO2 will then be pumped through a pipeline to a facility in the North Sea. Here, it will be pumped down into a subsea geological structure for storage.
Of two potential CO2 capture facilities, only the project in Porsgrunn received government financing. A CCS plant at the waste incineration facility at Klemetsrud in Oslo only received a promise of partial financing of NOK 3 billion. This was on condition that the EU would cover the rest, NOK 4 billion.
In late November 2021, the EU decided that it did not want to finance the Klemetsrud plant. The reasons cited for the decision were that the project was too small and not mature enough. Some Norwegian politicians argued that the Norwegian government should shoulder the whole bill for the carbon capture plant at Klemetsrud. That demand has not gained enough support, so far.
A new development (17 December 2021) is the production of low-emission ammonia from fossil gas. The resulting CO2 will be captured. The project will be situated at the Melkøya gas processing plant in Northern Norway. It will use the CO2 storage already in place in connection with the Snøhvit gas field in the Barents Sea. The Norwegian government has financed the project to the tune of NOK 482 million. The CO2 storage at Snøhvit has not been operating since a catastrophic fire in the gas processing plant at Melkøya in September 2020. This is where the gas from Snøhvit is processed, and CO2 separated from the gas is pumped back out to storage under the seabed. Since the gas processing plant was shut down for repairs and will remain closed until spring 2022, the CCS facilities have not been active during this period.

Tore Braend


Enel CEO does not believe in CCS

Francesco Starace, CEO of the giant Italian power company Enel, sees CCS as a lost cause.

The company brought forward its net zero emissions pledge by 10 years to 2040 in November 2021, but it is not betting on carbon capture as a way of achieving it.
“We have tried and tried – and when I say ‘we’ I mean the electricity industry,” Starace said to the business TV channel CNBC.

“The fact is that it [CCS] doesn’t work, it hasn’t worked for us so far. And there is a rule of thumb here: If a technology doesn’t really pick up in five years – and here we’re talking about more than five, we’re talking about 15, at least – you better drop it.”

Enel is a heavyweight in European power and in global green power, and Starace was president of the European power lobby Eurelectric from 2017 to 2019.

Enel is the biggest power company in the world, by revenue, according to Power Technology, ahead of Electricité de France (though it produces less electricity). It operates plants of all kinds from Russia to Chile, and claims a strong focus on renewables, from which it got just above 50 per cent of its generation in 2020. Its GHG emissions per kWh were 214 grams per kWh in 2020, slightly less than the EU average of 230 grams. Enel has set a target to cut this to 148 g per kWh in 2023 and below 82 g per kWh by 2030 in its 2020 sustainability report. It plans to phase out all coal power by 2027.

Fredrik Lundberg


The second part of the survey will be published in the next issue of Acid News.



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