On Friday, the Canadian Minister of the Environment announced new emissions rules for coal plants which supposed encourage a shift to effective capture and storage of carbon. And, yes, you may be right to be suspicious about any new regulations announced on a Friday afternoon in the middle of August, when the vast majority of Canadians are planning for the weekend and ignoring the news. According to Minister Peter Kent:
These proposed regulations take into account the fact that many electricity facilities across Canada are old and need to be replaced soon. We're acting now to ensure that power companies understand today, the rules that will affect the new investments they have to make tomorrow. It allows for an orderly process - the bedrock of certainty.
The scant news coverage pointed out that the new standards only apply to plants built after July 1, 2015, thus exempted some proposed new coal plants.
That includes Calgary-based Maxim Power Corp.'s contentious proposal for a 500-megawatt expansion at its HR Milner facility, which received final approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission earlier this month and must be built by July 31, 2015 - a condition of the go-ahead (Calgary Herald)
So, again, if I am reading this right, you can gain an exemption from the regulations if you are able to conduct a study showing that the CCS system will be capable of meeting the new emissions regulation by 2025.
Putting this all together:
1. Any coal plants built before July, 2015 which have not reached the end of their useful life [ed - see comment #1] are exempt. Given the expected shift towards natural gas in the next few years, it is entirely possible that the regulations will not end up applying to
2. Any coal plants built after July, 2015 are exempt until 2025 so long as it is technologically possible to install a CCS system by 2025. Therefore, CCS systems are unlikely to be operating at any large scale coal plants in Canada for another 15 years. This delay may reflect the technological challenge of CCS or the values of the current government, or both.
Hopefully, I'm wrong.