The Institute will aim to accelerate carbon projects through facilitating demonstration projects and identifying and supporting necessary research - including regulatory settings and regulatory frameworks.
Carbon capture and storage is a process that captures carbon dioxide (C02) and transports it to a site where it is injected deep underground for long-term safe and secure storage.
Australia has already held informal consultations with industry and foreign governments over a possible model for the Institute.
The model for the Institute and its operations will now be the subject of further detailed discussions with parties that have an interest in carbon capture and storage, such as foreign governments, industry and various international bodies.
This will pave the way for its commercial deployment across the world by the end of the next decade.
World energy demand is projected to grow by 55 per cent between 2005 and 2030.
Despite the growth of renewable energy, fossil fuels, especially coal, will remain major sources of the world’s energy in the coming decades.
Around 80 percent of Australia’s electricity currently comes from coal fired power generation.
Coal is now Australia’s largest source of export earnings, earning an estimated $43 billion in 2008-09.
All major models of how the world can achieve lower greenhouse gas emissions expect a significant part of the reduction to be achieved through the use of carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS).
However, while there have been small scale trials of the technology, no industrial-scale integrated CCS power stations have been built.
Australia already has an active research effort underway.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC) are leading research into CCS.
A number of small-scale CCS demonstration projects have commenced at Australian power stations.
The Government has also established the National Low Emissions Coal Initiative (NLECI), a $500 million program to accelerate the development and deployment of technologies that will reduce emissions from coal use. It includes funding for research and to support the trial of different technologies.
The Government has already established a National Low Emissions Coal Council and Carbon Storage Taskforce. These bodies will play a leading role in helping to deliver this new global initiative.
Legislation to establish a regulatory framework for CO2 storage under the seabed in Commonwealth waters is currently before Parliament. This legislation will allow Australia to offer the first carbon storage blocks for commercial development in early 2009.