A new generation of power stations which capture and store carbon, instead of releasing it to the atmosphere, could become financially attractive in Ireland within five years.
That is the view of Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) which today said there was potential to store CO2 in geological vaults such as the former Kinsale Gas Field off the coast of Cork.
SEI was commenting after the publication of "An Assessment of the Potential for Geological Storage of CO2 for the Island of Ireland" which was published jointly by it and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Preliminary estimates show there could be enough geological locations accessible to Ireland to store up to 5,000 million tonnes of CO2, sufficient to store the emissions produced by the electricity sector for up to 250 years. This presently accounts for 21% of all of the emissions in the Republic of Ireland.
Dr. Mary Kelly, director general of the EPA said the assessment "represents the first step in evaluating carbon capture and storage in an Irish context. However, the deployment of this technology is still at a relatively early stage. Further research in this area is urgently required if we are to be assured of the environmental integrity and environmental impacts of Carbon Capture and Storage."