Knowledge Centre releases comprehensive overview of CCUS investment tax credit to aid investment in carbon capture and storage facilities
Regina, Sask. – The Government of Canada’s 2023 budget contains additional measures to support the development of large-scale carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCS/CCUS) projects, but Canada’s policy framework still requires key details to spur private-sector investment, according to a new overview of CCUS policy by the International CCS Knowledge Centre.
The Knowledge Centre has delivered a primer on the federal budget released March 28, 2023 that provides a detailed break-down of the government’s proposed investment tax credit that is expected to be in place by October this year, following further public consultation. The tax credit for CCUS projects is the government’s centrepiece for incentivizing heavy industries to build CCS infrastructure and will cover 50 per cent of the capital cost of CO2 capture projects between 2022 and 2030. The tax credit is higher (60 per cent) for projects that capture CO2 directly from the atmosphere (direct air capture) and it also covers 37.5 per cent of the cost for facilities required to transport, utilization and permanent storage of CO2.
The Knowledge Centre’s aggregation of government policies and updates related to the investment tax credit since it was first proposed in April 2021 found that the government is developing further guidance on what costs will be eligible, labour requirements, the obligation of companies to share knowledge about their CCS projects and report on climate risks, and other technical issues that will impact the value of the tax credit for project developers. There also remains significant uncertainty regarding how the investment tax credit may affect or complement provincial policies and incentive programs that exist or are in development.
“We are pleased the Government of Canada will provide significant support for CCUS development, and we look forward to the government setting out a clear timeline for when the investment tax credit and other policy tools will be put in place with legislation, which will enable Canadian industries to commit to building these multi-billion-dollar projects,” said James Millar, president and chief executive officer of the International CCS Knowledge Centre.
“The fact is that CCS/CCUS projects must get started immediately if Canada is to achieve its ambitious goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions at least 40 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. We also stand to lose investment dollars, and the important jobs and technical expertise that CCS projects entail to the United States and other jurisdictions where the economics of building projects are clear,” Millar said.
The primer also highlights critical gaps that still exist in Canadian CCUS policy, including the lack of long-term certainty on the cost of carbon emissions, and the need for a more robust protocol for sharing the valuable knowledge and lessons generated by major CCS projects in order to lower costs and improve the performance of CCS projects across the country and around the world. The federal government announced its intention to introduce ‘carbon contracts for difference’ that protect investors from potential changes to federal carbon prices in its 2022 Fall Economic Statement, and plans to launch consultations on broad-based carbon contracts for difference in the coming months. Last week, Natural Resources Canada also began soliciting input on its proposal for CCUS projects with investment tax credit-eligible expenses of $250 million or greater to be required to contribute to public knowledge sharing.
“The government’s draft knowledge sharing requirement calls for companies to provide a report following the completion of project construction, and annual reports regarding the operation of CCUS facilities. This is a good first step, but knowledge sharing should not be a ‘one and done’ exercise,” said Beth (Hardy) Valiaho, the International CCS Knowledge Centre’s vice-president of policy, regulatory and stakeholder relations. “With large public dollars supporting these projects, we need to ensure there is ongoing curation of lessons learned and collaboration between projects if we are to realize the full value of CCS technology across heavy-emitting industries.”
The publication CCUS Investment Tax Credit – Primer (Spring 2023) is now available on the Knowledge Centre’s website here.
Canada has been a leader in the first generation of global CCS development, with five of the 30 commercial CCS projects in the world today. These include SaskPower’s Boundary Dam Unit 3 CCS Facility — the world’s first fully integrated CCS facility on a coal-fired power plant, the largest CO2 pipeline on the planet - the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, and the world’s largest storage project for human-made CO2 in the Weyburn-Midale region of southeast Saskatchewan that has permanently sequestered more than 38 million tonnes of CO2 since 2000.
Canada accounts for approximately 15 per cent of current global CCS/CCUS capacity – approximately seven million tonnes of CO2 per year – even though the country generates less than two per cent of global CO2 emissions. Since 2000, CCS projects in Canada have safely stored more than 44 million tonnes of CO2, or the equivalent of taking more than 9.4 million cars off the road.
Canada has pledged to cut its emissions by 40 – 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Canada’s current federal emissions reduction plan expects national CCS capacity to more than triple, adding facilities to capture and store at least 15 million tonnes per year by 2030. Meeting this goal will rely heavily on implementing CCS in heavy industries across the country, including power generation, cement, steel and fertilizer manufacturing, mining, petrochemical processing, and oil and gas production.
The major players in Canada’s heavy-emitting industries – which provide major contributions to national GDP and government revenues, employ millions of people, and include firms that are at the core of most Canadians’ pension plans and investment portfolios – are committed to achieving net zero by 2050, and they are set to invest billions on CCS in Canada. Capital Power announced last December a limited notice to proceed for its Genesee CCS project. Heidelberg Materials continues to advance the world’s first CCS project on a cement plant in Edmonton. And the oil sands industry is already spending tens of millions of dollars on the environmental assessments, early-stage engineering work and stakeholder engagement that is necessary to receive permits for construction for one of the world’s largest CCS projects known as the Pathways Alliance.
About the International CCS Knowledge Centre
The International CCS Knowledge Centre is a non-profit organization founded in 2016 by BHP and SaskPower to advance large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects as a critical means of managing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving the world’s ambitious climate goals.
The Knowledge Centre provides independent, expert advisory services for CCS projects across heavy-emitting industries based on our team’s unique experience developing the world’s first fully integrated post-combustion CCS facility on a coal-fired power plant. We have a proven track record of helping our clients lower costs, reduce risk and improve the performance of CCS projects across industries and technology platforms using the latest knowledge and lessons learned from major projects across the globe.
We also provide input to policy development and promote broad collaboration between stakeholders to enhance understanding of the critical role CCS plays in global decarbonization efforts and accelerate the deployment of new CCS projects around the world.
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International CCS Knowledge Centre