Emission Abatement Potential for the Alberta Oil Sands Industry and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Applicability to Coal-Fired Elect ricity Generation and Oil Sands
In an increasingly greenhouse gas (GHG) conscious environment, Alberta has faced criticism for its heavy emissions within the oil sands industry and its utilization of coal-fired generation. Oil sands development is an expanding industry with production expected to approximately triple in the coming decades; consequently, emissions will rise markedly and if left unhindered, the oil sands will be a significant emitter of GHGs in the future. Simultaneously, the higher emissions from coal power generation compared to other forms of electricity generation have incited a largely uncertain future for coal generation. Furthermore, the advent of a carbon tax in Alberta and Canada’s commitment to the Copenhagen Accord, have endorsed the proliferation of lower GHG intensity technologies. Consequently, under the aforementioned pressures, various stakeholders have hastened to devise schemes and promote technologies that reduce emissions in order to avoid significant future costs (both social and financial) that could hinder development. This has resulted in a myriad of technologies which range from improvements in efficiency, to deep-cuts in emissions through sequestration.
CERI has evaluated these emerging technologies to determine applicability, and has attempted to provide context over the advantages and disadvantages of implementing such technologies. Furthermore, a projection of a business-as-usual scenario and emission factors for different technologies were developed in order to determine the potential abatement of emerging technologies. CCS was also examined in detail as a front runner for a potential renaissance of “clean-coal” technologies and applicability within the oil sands.
This study is primarily geared towards readers seeking to understand the sources of GHG emissions in the oil sands industry and the role of emerging technologies. It is also intended to update the reader on the state of CCS, the requirements for implementation, and potential barriers.
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