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Clean Coal on the Ropes

Clean coal is a seductive proposition for arresting climate change.  It means we could continue to burn coal for power as usual and use carbon capture and storage (CCS) to remove carbon dioxide from the flue gas and bury it underground.  Carbon capture is actually a mature technology, widely used in natural gas processing, where gas is bubbled through a liquid amine mixture which chemically binds to carbon dioxide, letting the desired gas pass through.  The amine solvent is then heated to liberate relatively pure carbon dioxide.
Companies and governments invested in coal have devoted massive resources to try and adapt carbon capture technology for coal fired power, with the typical approach being to bolt on a conventional amine solvent plant to an existing power station.  This approach has, however, failed to succeed.  The Boundary Dam project, a flagship effort aiming to demonstrate that CCS is feasible on an industrial scale, was plagued by budget overruns during construction, and

Battery Storage Coming to Victoria

The Australian Federal Government have announced support for two new battery storage facilities in Victoria.  Importantly, these batteries are slated to be online for summer, and will plug into local renewable energy generators in the west of the state.

Here in Victoria we have an old and unreliable electricity network, fed largely by failure-prone coal fired power stations.  Burning moist, brown coal, these are also some of the world's dirtiest generators, and are in the process of being phased out.  The other thing we have here is hot summers, and when temperatures soar so does energy demand. And then the grid goes down.

In 2017 the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) stepped in very late in the year to bolster the state's electricity supplies for summer, in a move that included contracts to bring in air and noise polluting diesel generators to the LaTrobe Valley.  The move was so close to summer that battery power wasn't thought feasible.  Local residents were con…