International Electricity Partnership Sets Out Its Stall in Bonn

10 April 2009

Meeting on the sidelines of the climate negotiations in Bonn on 1 April, members of the International Electricity Partnership (IEP) explained its purpose and first fruits. Speaking to a room filled with delegates and observers at the first 2009 negotiating session which will lead to the 15th Conference of Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December, representatives of the associations making up the IEP set out its objectives and the timelines for delivery of its technology roadmap. They also presented the first deliverable - a Timeline for Development and Commercial Deployment of Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS).

Bill Kyte, EURELECTRIC's Chief Advisor on International Climate Policy, explained that senior industry representatives from the US Edison Electric Institute (EEI), Federation of Electric Power Companies (FEPC) of Japan, the Energy Supply Association of Australia (ESAA), Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) and EURELECTRIC, meeting at the October 2008 International Chief Executives Summit in Atlanta, had stated their conviction that electricity can be the solution to climate change and that developed countries must take the lead and demonstrate their commitment to sharing technologies and experience in order to allow developing countries to follow. The electricity leaders believe that reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of 60-80% can be made by 2050 with determined application of technology and an adequate transition period.

To further develop this vision the CEOs set up the International Electricity Partnership. Its aim is to contribute to the international climate change debate and to square the scientific and political timelines with technical reality. In pursuit of these objectives, the electricity leaders are working towards delivering a Roadmap designed to advance the development and deployment of technologies for advanced coal generation (ACT) and carbon capture & storage (CCS).

During the conference, Eric Holdsworth, EEI's Director of Climate Programs, explained that the CCS Timeline embodied a common message from the international electricity industry on CCS technology, setting out when that technology would be available for commercial deployment and the policies and funding that would be necessary to bring deployment about. The Timeline is the first phase of a larger Roadmap which will show pathways to low-carbon power generation and set out the technical issues involved in capturing and storing CO2 that need to be resolved globally, he said. The IEP Partners expect CCS to be commercially available between 2020 and 2025 and that commercial roll-out will take place in the following five to 10 years. He stressed however that considerable funding will be required to enable the Timeline to be delivered.

John Novak of US-based Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), John Scowcroft of EURELECTRIC and Ichiro Maeda of FEPC then discussed major developments in CCS in their respective regions and what steps governments and industry are taking to tackle the technical challenges of CCS. Non-technical aspects such as regulatory and legal challenges unique to each country were also discussed, along with the steps taken by governments and industry to address them. The question and answer session that followed raised issues relating to the use of biomass in association with CCS and the incorporation of CCS into the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Finally, Mr Maeda presented some preliminary thoughts on the role that energy efficiency demand side measures (with particular reference to the Chinese case) could play in the move towards a low-carbon society.

The Partnership intends to publish the full Roadmap in October and will be presenting its work in progress at the ongoing negotiating sessions under the UNFCCC during the year. In addition, the IEP members have confirmed their commitment to continue cooperating and sharing knowledge and to encourage their governments to provide the funding necessary for the construction of a number of large demonstration plants, which they believe is a critical element for the commercial deployment of the technology.  

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