Carbon capture leadership in Canada

Blog - Nov. 4, 2015 - By Duncan Kenyon, Binnu Jeyakumar

Quest Carbon Capture and Storage project in Fort Saskatchewan in September 2014. Photo: Pembina Institute.

Momentum is growing in Canada for effective action on climate change — and specifically for policies that recognize how reliance on fossil fuels is creating real risks for our economy and environment. Decarbonization creates opportunities to implement a portfolio of solutions that includes renewable energy, energy efficiency and technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS). The Pembina Institute recently published a backgrounder looking at this topic.

CCS is one of a number of approaches that can help reduce carbon emissions on the scale required to combat dangerous climate change. Canada has taken action to foster the deployment of this technology with the completion of full-scale commercial CCS projects. We have also implemented policy and regulatory changes to support CCS, and created a strong research and technology development ecosystem. We have compiled a list of significant Canadian actions taken on CCS to date.

In early November, another step will be taken as the Quest CCS project officially begins operations at Shell Canada’s Scotford upgrader outside Edmonton. The project will reduce emissions by sequestering more than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year deep underground in a saline aquifer.

With the Quest project, and other Alberta-based CCS projects and programs, there is an opportunity to create a carbon capture, utilization and storage hub — that is, a network of carbon pipelines plus capture and storage sites. Developing this hub would capitalize on federal and provincial investment in CCS knowledge, expertise and capacity, while also helping to manage the significant emissions from Alberta’s industrial sources.

The time is right for the federal and provincial governments to implement comprehensive climate policies that will drive economy-wide reductions in emissions. The work that has already been done on CCS in Canada can help inform where that technology fits into a full portfolio of climate mitigation solutions. Now is the time for a meaningful dialogue about what these solutions could be in Canada, and how they could achieve deep decarbonization of our society.


Duncan Kenyon

Duncan is an energy policy expert with the Pembina Institute. He is based in Edmonton.

Binnu Jeyakumar

Binnu is the program director of electricity for the Pembina Institute. She is based in Calgary.


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