Clean coal - quotable quotes

From Global Energy Monitor

Clean coal - quotable quotes includes statements referring to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).


Some key statements providing insights into the formidable challenges facing CCS by industry insiders or those close to the power generation or coal industry include:

  • "CCS as a magical technology that solves the carbon problem for coal plants is oversold. … I think there is a lot to learn, and it is going to take us a lot longer for us to figure it out than a lot of us think." - Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy in June 2008.[1]
  • "There are going to be some coal plants built in the next decade. I don’t think very many around the country. The environmental characteristics obviously are the main stoppers. Clean coal technology, carbon capture and sequestration is certainly being worked on, but I think people will, if they’re candid, tell you there hasn’t been much progress on that for some time. There will be a handful of demonstration projects and the capture of the carbon coming from coal over the next decade but the technology’s not going to be commercially available in large volumes in this decade and the sequestration problem—the volume of CO2 that has to be sequestered—is just enormous. Things like enhanced oil recovery don’t even start to cut into the volume of sequestration that’s needed. So clean coal is not going to provide tens of thousands of megawatts, in my opinion, over the next decade." Roger Duncan, recently retired general manager of Austin Energy, from his speech at Power Gen's renewable energy conference February. 23, 2010. (It was one of his last speeches as GM.)[2]
  • "Clean coal has become an invitation for ridicule" - an Australian government adviser in 2009.[3]
  • "The reality is, you are not going to see another coal fired power station built in Australia. That's, that's a simple fact. You can talk about all the stuff you like about carbon capture storage, that concept will not materialise for 20 years, and probably never."[4] - Ian MacFarlane, the Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources and the Acting Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on Emissions Trading Design for the Liberal Party of Australia. As Minister for Industry Tourism and Resources in the government led by John Howard, Macfarlane promoted carbon capture and storage.
  • "The Government's incentive is just that. It is an aim to bring forward the introduction of this technology into commercial plants as soon as possible ... Well, what happened was nothing happened and that is really the problem for Australia. The clean coal option has passed us by. Twenty years to wait before the technology is available. Thirty years before it is commercial. We will need to move on to other options by then." - Ian Macfarlane, November 10, 2009.[5]
  • In a presentation in May 2010 John W. Rowe, the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the energy company, Exelon Corporation, outlined that a review of carbon cost abatement options for the company in 2010 revealed that "a proposed clean coal project we have seen in the market is now the most expensive option, requiring $500 per tonne of CO2 to be economic."[6]
  • '"One of the plants we are building is CCS ready, although to be quite frank, no one really knows what that is at the moment," said Steve Lennon, managing director of South Africa's government owned electricity utility, Eskom.[7]
  • the Australian government's climate change adviser Ross Garnaut wrote in his draft report that "the future of the Australian coal industry depends critically on the success of carbon capture and storage not only in Australia, but in the rest of the world, and especially in Australia’s major coal markets in Asia."[8]
  • "[T]he notion of coal as the solution to America’s energy problems is a technological fantasy on par with the dream of a manned mission to Mars." - Jeff Goodell, author of Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future, Houghton Mifflin, April 2007.[9]
  • CCS "does not work as well as planting more trees or reducing desertification, " Zhang Guobao, the Director of the National Energy Administration and Vice-Minister of the State Development and Reform Commission in China, told a conference.[10]
  • "‘Clean coal’ is not just a pipe-dream. The technology solutions that the combined expertise of AAplc and Shell will be proving in developing the Monash Energy Project will help keep coal in the global energy mix for many years, with the longterm goal of zero emissions." In 2009, with none of the plans yet coming into fruition, a company source was quoted in The Age as saying the project is "not commercially viable".[11]
  • In a media release announcing the suspension of the proposed Pee Dee Generating Facility, Santee Cooper specifically singled out the potential cost of retrofitting Carbon Capture and Storage to the proposed plant. "The bill calls for carbon capture and sequestration technology to be placed on new plants by 2025, and there currently exists no technology to do that. The cost of the technology and the carbon tax are unknown and expected to be high, and this uncertainty causes great concern for Santee Cooper in considering future coal plants," Santee Cooper president and CEO Lonnie Carter stated.[12]
  • In mid-October 2009 Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, speaking at the Keephills power station, said that "this plant will not just be a first for Canada; indeed, it will be the first of its kind in the world! ... Innovations like carbon capture and storage will define the future of this industry."[13] In April 2012 the industry partners in the Project Pioneer proposed CCS plant to be retrofitted to the Keephills 3 power station project announced that they would not proceed with the enhanced oil recovery project following the completion of a "front end engineering and design (FEED) study". In a media release the companies stated that "although the technology works and capital costs were in-line with expectations, the market for carbon sales and the price of emissions reductions were insufficient to allow the project to proceed."[14]
  • Megan Davison, the Executive Director - Victoria of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), the peak mining industry lobby group, told the Latrobe Valley Express in March 2012 that progressing clean coal technology could happen "in the blink of an eye".[15]
  • A spokesman for the Ohio-based Murray Energy, the nation's largest privately owned coal producer, wrote that "the government has already spent substantially on carbon capture and storage ("CCS") technology, and we have not made progress ... The promise of CCS technology is used by politicians to pretend that they are doing something for the coal industry, when they are not."[17]
  • "We're a long way from home on doing this on a widespread basis," said Steve Moorman, the business development manager for Babcock & Wilcox told a Platts conference.[18]
  • Tom Sarkus, a director with the National Energy Technology Laboratory, said CCS would be likely to increase the cost of electricity by 30%, based on an average of estimates produced by industry and scientific groups. Roughly 70% of the cost is the actual capture of the carbon dioxide, with another 14% in compression, and 12% in storage. Transportation of the CO2 makes up the remaining 4%.[18]
  • "It takes 15, 20, even 30 years to progress from an idea's conception to full-size demonstration technology. You can't really leap frog ... because power plants tend to be large facilities, often in baseload configurations, so will take 15 to 30 years to implement," said Tom Sarkus, a director with the National Energy Technology Laboratory.[18]

Articles and resources

Related articles


  1. "Carbon storage technology is far from ready, utility execs warn", E&ENews, June 17, 2009. (Sub req'd).
  2. Roger Duncan, "A Retiring Utility CEO Looks to the Future", Power Engineering(Blog), February 2010. (The blog is edited by David Wagman, Chief Editor of Power Engineering magazine).
  3. Adam Morton, "Coming clean", The Age, November 4, 2009.
  4. Sarah Ferguson, "Malcolm and the Malcontents", "Four Corners", November 9, 2009.
  5. "Clean coal technology won't work: Opposition", AM, ABC Radio National, November 10, 2009.
  6. John W. Rowe, Chairman and CEO, Exelon Corporation, “Fixing the Carbon Problem Without Breaking the Economy”, Presentation to Resources or the Future Policy Leadership Forum, National Association of Home Builders, Washington, D.C., May 12, 2010.
  7. M. J. Morgan, "Coal - old faithful back in favour", African Business, July 1 2009.
  8. Ross Garnaut, "Targets and trajectories: Supplementary Draft Report", Garnaut Climate Change Review, September 2008, pages 14-15.
  9. Jeff Goodell, “The Dirty Rock,” The Nation, April 19, 2007.
  10. Si Tingting, "Energy cooperation urged at think-tank", China Daily, July 13, 2009.
  11. Royce Millar, "The high price for coal's Holy Grail", The Age, November 4, 2009.
  12. Santee Cooper, "Santee Cooper board suspends efforts to permit proposed Pee Dee Energy Campus", Media Release, August 24, 2009.
  13. Stephen Harper, "Clean Energy for Tomorrow: Investing in Carbon Capture and Storage in Alberta", Speech at the Keephills power station, Alberta, October 14 2009.
  14. "Project Pioneer partners conclude front-end study; will not proceed with CCS demonstration project", Media Release, April 26, 2012.
  15. Lynda McRae, [ "Clean-coal debate intensifies", Latrobe Valley Express, March 22, 2012.
  16. David Crowe, "Funding cuts hit La Trobe Valley power project", The Australian, July 28, 2012.
  17. Coral Davenport, "The Coal Lobby's Fight for Survival", The National Journal, June 27, 2013.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 "Carbon capture technology would not be ready for several years: panel", Platts, September 24, 2013.

External resources

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