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The Climate Council has criticised the Federal Government’s announcement of three new carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects, citing the need for clean energy production.

Federal Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, is expected to announce three new CCS projects on 20 May 2022 for Western Australia.

The three new projects expected to receive grants are Deep C Store ($5 million), Novalith Technologies ($7 million) and Calix ($11 million).

This comes after experts suggested CCS was more important than ever to help secure energy supplies given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and depleted oil supplies.

CCS is the process of compressing and storing carbon dioxide, which is normally released into the atmosphere, in exhausted underground gas reserves.

CCS has been heavily criticised by industry leaders and environmental groups alike, citing it as costly and extending the life of fossil fuels.

The Climate Council has criticised the announcement, saying that Western Australia is already home to the world’s largest failed attempt at CCS. 

The Chevron’s Gorgon gas plant in Western Australia is the world’s largest attempted CCS project in the world, which the Climate Council said has been a big, expensive failure, plagued by leaks, cracks as well as frequently evacuated. 

The Climate Council said when attached to polluting coal and gas projects, CCS is simply a licence to ramp up emissions and will never be a ‘zero-emissions’ solution. 

Climate Councillor, energy expert and former President of BP Australasia, Greg Bourne, said Australia’s energy security is vulnerable because it relies on globally traded gas and oil with all the geopolitical risks attached. 

“This is pushing our strategic allies like the US and the EU to double down on clean energy,” Mr Bourne said.

“The EU responded to the war in Ukraine with plans to accelerate the shift to renewables, and reduce its overall reliance on fossil fuels. Not the other way around.”

The Federal Government has already committed $65 million to CCS projects planned in Western Australia by Woodside and Mitsui, with an $378 million to 17 other CCS projects across Australia. 

“Carbon capture and storage will not solve this problem, it will only prolong the life of these fossil fuels in our energy system, complete with their emissions,” Mr Bourne said.

“The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association’s (APPEA) motivation in pushing CCS is not to help decarbonise difficult sectors such as cement but to increase the production of gas and oil.

“Investing in renewables and storage will increase Australia’s self-sufficiency, create new industries, and protect us from international shocks – like we’re seeing with gas now – and reliance on foreign oil. 

“We need homegrown power – and as one of the sunniest and windiest places on the planet, renewables are it.” 

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