A $1.4 billion carbon capture (CCS) equipped coal plant is on the drawing board in Saskatchewan. The projected output is 100 megawatts (MW). That works out to a price of $14,000 a kilowatt, compared with about $2000 and $4600 per kilowatt for wind turbines (according to Agriculture and Rural Development Alberta). Of course, unlike the coal plant, the wind turbines wouldn’t require fuel after being installed.
Unless the cost of CCS falls dramatically, it is never going to be able to ride in, horse at a gallop and sword drawn, to rescue the coal sector. The cancelled FutureGen project in the United States was one demonstration of this. Until there is at least one unsubsidized commercial facility out there that is producing electricity from coal and sequestering emmisions – all for less than the price of ‘expensive’ renewable technologies like wind and solar – a fair bit of skepticism about the technology is justified.