In recent days, Mads Greaker, head of research at Statistics Norway, has claimed that the Government will have a hard time selling the capture technology at Mongstad. Others are questioning whether the technology is ”profitable”.
It would be at least as relevant to ask: What is the alternative? The willingness of the Norwegian society to make a strong commitment to developing technology to capture CO2 from power plants is based on solid and thought-provoking analyses: CO2 capture is one of many necessary measures to limit the increase in global temperature to less than two degrees up to 2050.
Developing effective capture methods is both costly and challenging; often entailing testing and mastering new technologies. This is one of the responsibilities we in Gassnova have on behalf of the Norwegian State.
The current technology is not mature enough for broad application. It is very expensive and must be thoroughly tested in the years to come. Who will do this? Norway is one of very few countries in the world that has the finances, capability and willingness to take on this task. Norway is making an important international contribution on this front, which over the long term will help ensure a liveable planet.
Two of the most visible contributions are the so-called CO2 Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM) where various CO2 capture methods are going to be tested as from end 2011, and the full-scale capture plant being in planning for the same location. This effort can only be realised through substantial financial contributions from the State, as well as through close cooperation drawing on the expertise and project abilities of suppliers as well as the power and oil/gas industries.
The Storting (Norwegian parliament) has endorsed the Government's plans for this commitment, as formulated in the recently adopted Storting Report No. 9.
The Government's plans include allocating the necessary time and resources to gain experience from TCM, to ensure selection of the best possible solutions for full-scale CO2 capture at Mongstad. Other important experience for this process can be gained through international evaluation of technology and suppliers, as well as through competitive tendering.
Overall, this will provide the best possible basis up to a decision to build a full-scale plant at Mongstad. At the same time, Gassnova has got the task also to look into other possible alternatives, other than Mongstad.
If the world chooses to ignore the climate problem, it will be extremely costly in the long term.
We in Norway are among the few that have the necessary resources. That is precisely why we must shoulder this task.