For many people, the start of a new year prompts reflection on what has been accomplished during the last 12 months, as well as what lies ahead in the next year. For carbon capture and storage broadly, and the International CCS Knowledge Centre in particular, 2024 is shaping up to be a very exciting year that will build on the significant progress that was made in 2023.

Undoubtedly the greatest area of progress throughout the last year was the development of key policies to support the investment of billions of dollars to build the CCS facilities necessary to address greenhouse gas emissions across heavy industries. Following the passage of the landmark incentives for CCS and other emissions reduction technologies contained in the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, Canada made commendable headway in crafting a suite of policy tools that provide a solid foundation for projects to move forward in the coming months. The federal government’s long-awaited investment tax credit (ITC) for CCS/CCUS projects is now moving through the required readings in Parliament and is expected to become legislation next month. In tandem with this has been Ottawa’s signing of its first ‘carbon contract for difference’ with the owner of a CCS facility at a natural gas processing plant in northern Alberta – an important step in providing the framework for other contracts that will provide long-term certainty on carbon pricing for project developers.

Our policy team did exceptional work analyzing, providing advice, and submitting formal input on the CCUS-ITC throughout the course of 2023. It is no exaggeration to say that the Knowledge Centre has become the go-to source of objective, credible and reliable information on CCS policy in Canada for industry, government, academia and other stakeholders. We take this responsibility seriously, and we look forward to continuing to work with all of these partners on the successful implementation of these policies.

Similarly, at a provincial level, we were honoured to be included in the Government of Alberta’s inaugural Emissions Reduction and Energy Development Plan, through $3 million in foundational support for the creation of a national CCS knowledge sharing hub. This year will be focused on implementing this important tool for Canada to meet its ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, through the effective curation of knowledge, best practices and lessons learned from Canadian CCS projects past, present and future. Leveraging Canada’s pioneering experience in CCS is key to building our global leadership and capturing the opportunities in this fast-growing space, and we have proven that applying lessons from the first generation of CCS projects is crucial for reducing the risk, lowering the cost and improving the success of each new generation of technologies and projects. When combined with the Alberta government’s own tax incentive that was announced at the end of 2023 through Alberta Carbon Capture Incentive Program, it is clear Alberta will be at the forefront in ensuring CCS plays a leading role in achieving a net-zero economy.     

On the international stage. CCS was higher on the agenda than ever before at COP28, the United Nations’ annual climate change meeting, held in Dubai in December. Coming out of COP28 and the first global stocktake on progress towards achieving the Paris Agreement was a new agreement for tackling climate change that for the first time explicitly includes CCS as an accepted and necessary pillar of global greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategies. As always, the Knowledge Centre team was part of the official CCS delegation at COP28 and the conference was ripe with fruitful discussions and meetings. Much of the focus on CCS at COP28 was related to how it will help the global cement industry reach net-zero emissions. This provided an incredible opportunity to highlight our work with Heidelberg Materials on the world’s first large-scale CCS facility on a cement plant in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, as well as sharing key lessons and considerations for CCS project development that are contained in the comprehensive guidebook we developed last year for members of the Global Cement and Concrete Association.  

Closer to home, our growing technical and advisory services teams have been extremely busy providing their unique, hands-on experience from the Boundary Dam Unit 3 CCS facility (BD3) and other world-first CCS projects to help companies plan, design and build successful projects. The last year saw our experts hosting tours of BD3, workshops with clients, attending CCS industry conferences and providing developers with direct advice and assistance. Our global client list now includes companies across Canada, the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Australia from a wide range of heavy emitting industries including forestry, power generation, cement, steel, fertilizer, and oil and gas producers.

With the policy landscape becoming clear and the timelines for CCS projects to get underway becoming tighter, we are optimistic that major projects in Canada such the Pathways Alliance, Heidelberg’s Edmonton facility and Capital Power’s Genessee project could receive positive investment decisions and move ahead quickly, along with others in the U.S., UK and Europe.  This will generate significant opportunity as the skills, experience and knowledge required to bring CCS facilities to life will be in high demand.

The rapidly evolving CCS industry has naturally led to significant change for our organization, and I would like express my gratitude to all of our team, as each and every one has contributed to our success over the past year.  It has been truly remarkable to watch the evolution of the Knowledge Centre as we have been able to grow our lines of business, increase our revenue, expand our global relationships and become an internationally recognized centre of excellence for CCS knowledge.  I am continually impressed with the passion, capabilities, and dedication our team brings to the important work of advancing CCS as a critical solution to addressing climate change and creating a more sustainable future for all.

Thanks to all of our staff, contractors, board members, clients and supporters. We look forward to working with you through 2024. And I can’t wait to see what we accomplish together!