Global aspirations for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies are high. According to the International Energy Agency’s BLUE map scenario, achieving a 50% global greenhouse gas reduction by 2050 requires CCS-fitted plant to account for 17% of total electricity generation (IEA, 2009) 1. Yet, despite its central role in future energy scenarios, CCS is still yet to be demonstrated at utility scale. This means that CCS cost estimates are not informed by practical experience of building commercial-scale plant.
With high aspirations present and utility-scale empirical data absent, CCS technologies provide an interesting case study for analysing cost estimation methodologies. As such, this Working Paper examines global trends in current and future projections of CCS costs in the power sector, aiming to:
- Examine key trends in contemporary and forecast CCS cost estimates;
- Understand the drivers underlying these key trends; and
- Identify implications for CCS cost estimation methodologies.
A systematic literature review was conducted as a basis for analysing CCS cost estimates, with approximately fifty relevant academic articles and grey literature reports being identified (as detailed in the Appendix). The focus for analysis was estimates of levelised and capex costs for CCS. It is recognised that the decision to analyse these cost metrics – instead of CO2 avoidance costs – has implications for the relative attractiveness of coal CCS and gas CCS technologies. However, these metrics bring the benefit of enabling the comparison of CCS with other power sector technologies analysed in this Working Paper series (UKERC, 2011).
The paper begins by considering trends in current cost estimates for CCS (Section 2), and then progresses to examining future projections (Section 3). Following this, implications for CCS cost estimation methodologies are identified (Section 4).