A massive blowout in the estimated cost of the project has forced the Queensland government to scrap a prototype “clean coal” power plant that was to be in production by 2015.
It was hoped that the ZeroGen project in central Queensland would be the world’s first coal-fired power station designed to incorporate carbon capture and sequestration. Consruction of the 530 megawatt power plant was to have commenced in 2012 and been completed by 2015 with 90% of its CO2 being captured and stored.
According to Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, the feasibility study into the proposal “shows us that this technology works” but its cost “would drive up the cost of electricity beyond the reach of normal people.” According to the Australian, the estimated cost of the project has blown out by more than 50% above the original estimate of $4.3 billion.
ZeroGen was the most advanced of four “flagship” projects funded jointly by the federal government, the states and the coal industry to produce clean electricity from a power station integrated with carbon capture and storage. The desicion to scrap the project is likely to set back the possible construction of a “clean coal” power plant in Australia by at least five years.