America's largest “clean coal” power station has sensationally scrapped future plans to use coal at the site, after its operational costs skyrocketed by more than double, reaching around $7.5 billion (US).
Climate Councillor and energy expert of more than 40 years, Andrew Stock said Southern Company and Mississippi Power’s decision to axe coal from the Kemper Power Plant now leaves only two operating examples of coal with carbon capture storage in the world.
“This highlights the significant risks associated with any new so-called “clean coal” project. These are extremely expensive and complex mega projects to undertake, with no guarantee they will work as designed - that’s what we’ve seen happen over in Mississippi,” he said.
“The two remaining operating coal power stations with carbon capture and storage are not low emissions in any respect. The power stations - Petra Nova in the US and Boundary Dam in Canada - capture less than 20% of their pollution, pumping the emissions underground to extract more oil.
“When this additional oil is burned it creates further greenhouse gas emissions - it’s a vicious cycle.”
Coal plants with carbon capture and storage are expensive, with the two examples costing cost more than a billion US dollars for relatively small power capacity (110 - 240MW capacity) and for the limited benefit of only capturing a small proportion of total emissions from each existing power plant.
“Both Petra Nova and Boundary Dam needed hundreds of millions in government funding support to get off the ground.”
Stock, who oversaw the construction of the last three large gas power stations on Australia’s east coast, said the news from the United States should serve as a serious warning as the Federal Government continues to flag potential plans for “clean coal” in Australia.
“Coal is always polluting, regardless of whether the technology is "ultra super critical", "high efficiency low emissions" or "carbon capture and storage.
"The Federal Government’s must instead urgently transition to clean, affordable and secure renewable energy and storage technology."
For more information please contact Media Advisor Alexia Boland on 0430 511 068.
Image Credit: Mississippi Power's Kemper County energy facility