December 01, 2017

Four Jurisdictions Partner to Advance Carbon Capture Research, Cooperation and Knowledge Sharing

Saskatchewan, Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming today jointly signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) at the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) meeting in Arizona.

In the MOU, the four governments express a mutual desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while aiming to improve strategic and diverse energy production.  Accordingly, they will collaborate on CCUS knowledge sharing and capacity building as well as policy and regulatory expertise in the fields of carbon dioxide capture, transportation, storage and applications such as enhanced oil recovery.

With an estimated 1,600 coal-fired power plants planned or under construction in 62 countries around the world, CCUS has been identified as a key technology in the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  In China alone, 922,000 megawatts of power is produced from coal-fired plants, about seven times Canada’s total electrical generating capacity.

“Our four energy-producing jurisdictions are committed to sharing knowledge on this important technology so that we can manage greenhouse gases responsibly while ensuring our economies continue to grow,” Premier Brad Wall said.  “As a world leader in the advancement of CCUS technology, Saskatchewan has much to contribute.  SaskPower’s ground-breaking Boundary Dam 3 project is the world’s first commercial power plant with a fully-integrated post-combustion carbon capture system, and an excellent example of what is possible if we embrace CCUS.”

Wall noted that Boundary Dam 3 captured 85,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) in October, the highest monthly total since the carbon capture unit began operations in October 2014.  Altogether, BD3 has captured 1.75 million tonnes of CO2 since start up, the equivalent emissions of 440,000 vehicles.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), CCUS could deliver 13 per cent of the cumulative emissions reductions needed by 2050 to limit the global increase in temperature to 2oC.

“As states and as a nation we need to prioritize research into carbon capture if we are going to confront climate change and take full advantage of our existing resources,” Montana Governor Steve Bullock said.  “Done right, we can drive economic growth and create and maintain good-paying jobs across the region.  The bottom line for me is we should be in control of our energy futures, and that includes the important work accomplished through this MOU.”

“By harnessing our collective expertise and technology, we can show it’s possible to grow energy production and the economy while reducing emissions through increased innovation rather than expanded regulation,” North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum said.  “In a carbon-constrained world, improved CCUS technologies will enable our lignite industry to provide reliable baseload generation for decades to come, while also potentially helping us recover billions of barrels of oil through enhanced recovery methods – turning carbon dioxide from an unpopular byproduct into a valuable product.”

“This MOU builds upon the investments Wyoming has made in energy research and carbon management,” Wyoming Governor Matt Mead said.  “Wyoming is home to groundbreaking research at the School of Energy Resources, the Integrated Test Center and the Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute.  We are also working on a first of its kind project to develop statewide pipeline corridors that further CCUS efforts.  Wyoming looks forward to the opportunity, under this MOU, to work with Saskatchewan, Montana and North Dakota to find ways to commercialize carbon technologies and ensure the long-term viability of our fossil energy resources.”

The initiative highlights the value of jurisdictions using strategic partnerships on areas of shared interest.

The parties hope the information sharing and exchange will both expand their respective use of CCUS and lead to its potential wider deployment in North America and internationally.

The three-year MOU will also encourage the immediate engagement of CCUS-related organizations in the four jurisdictions, prioritize joint co-operative projects and ensure a formal evaluation process of activities and accomplishments.