The world’s largest mining company, BHP Billiton, has signed an agreement with SaskPower, the Canadian utility that pioneered the first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at a coal-fired power plant, to establish the BHP Billiton SaskPower Carbon Capture Knowledge Centre. The centre will aim to help advance CCS as a means of managing greenhouse gas emissions.
As part of the agreement, BHP Billiton will contribute CAN$4 billion per year for five years – a total of CAN$20 million – while SaskPower will “contribute its CCS expertise and experience gained through its various CCS initiative”, the utility said in a press release. The centre will operate as a not-for-profit Canadian corporation based in Regina, Saskatchewan.
“By enhancing global access to the data, information and lessens learned from SaskPower’s unique Boundary Dam facility – the first power project to successfully integrate CCS – we aim to stimulate deployment of the technology,,” said Dean Dalla Valle, Chief Commercial Officer and BHP Billiton.
According to SaskPower, the deployment of CCS is at a crucial juncture with China expecting to add 40 GW of coal-fired generation this year alone, to add to the 90 GW of capacity added over the past two years. Meanwhile India’s coal-fired fleet is forecast to grow by 250% by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency, with Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Turkey and South Africa also planning or construction new coal-fired power plants.
“CCS is especially important because the fastest growing countries in the world are expected to rely on coal to power their economies for some time to come,” said Saskatchewan Premier, Brad Wall. “SaskPower’s partnership with BHP Billiton will allow us to share the benefits of CCS with the world while continuing to reduce carbon emissions here at home.”
The centre will be staffed primarily by seconded SaskPower and BHP Billiton employees and will be led a board of directors comprising representatives of both SaskPower and BHP Billiton, as well as independent nominees.
“We are very pleased to have BHP Billiton as a partner in this centre,” SaskPower President and CEO Mike Marsh said. “Talks between our two companies began at a United Nations climate change conference in Peru in late 2014. Just over one year later, we are celebrating a ground-breaking knowledge centre that will offer the world a vehicle to advance the technology and commercial viability of CCS.”
Edited by Jonathan Rowland.