SaskPower calls on global participation in one of the largest and first carbon capture and sequestration projects in the world
Within a matter of decades, energy demand will more than double at a rate the world will find difficult to keep up with. In the transition to using more sustainable forms of energy, the world will still rely heavily on carbon polluting fossil fuels like coal and oil. In order to provide for future generations, how can we keep those industries alive in an environmentally responsible way?
The answer is through carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), a technology used to prevent the release of large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere by capturing the CO2 and pumping it into underground geologic formations. While the technology isn’t new, CCS has long been held back by high costs and a lack of large-scale experimentation. For many coal plants today, obtaining and employing the technologies needed to meet air quality standards is less economically viable than shutting down altogether. Therefore, in order for CCS to work, there needs to be a strategic business plan set in place to make the technology commercially viable.
In Saskatchewan, Canada, those historical setbacks are being challenged. Led by the province’s full-service utility, SaskPower, one of the world’s first and largest full production carbon capture facilities is underway. With an initial investment of $1.2 billion, SaskPower will be generating a revenue by selling a portion of the captured CO2 back into the market to be used for enhanced oil recovery.
“We went into it with a business plan,” says SaskPower CEO Robert Watson. “With the ability to capture and sell carbon back into the market, the price per megawatt hour would be comparable to building a brand new gas plant.”