New Energy Technologies: Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

In the fight against climate change, the International Energy Agency calls Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) one of the world’s most critical decarbonization technologies.

As countries like Canada aim to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the capture and permanent underground storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) is being touted as a vital component of global efforts to contain those emissions from heavy industrial processes, including power generation, cement production, and conventional energy production and refining.

As North America’s largest energy delivery company, Enbridge is an industry leader in moving to a sustainable, lower-carbon future in which CCS will be a key enabler.

Collaborative solutions will be needed to kickstart this emerging industry, and Enbridge is committed to working with industry, governments, technology developers and Indigenous communities to provide cost-competitive solutions that meet emissions reduction goals.

CO2 accounts for approximately 80% of all greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted via human activities.

In an integrated CCS solution, instead of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere, it’s captured as a gas at the emitting facility, compressed and then transported via pipeline to a strategically located storage hub, where it’s injected to be safely and permanently sequestered within deep underground geological formations.

The Open Access Wabamun Carbon Hub

One CCS project under development is our Open Access Wabamun Carbon Hub to be located north and west of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The Wabamun Hub will support recently announced carbon capture projects by Capital Power Corporation and Lehigh Cement (now operating as Heidelberg Materials), which together represents an opportunity to avoid nearly 4 million tonnes of atmospheric CO2 emissions—the equivalent of taking more than 1.2 million cars off the road annually.

The Wabamun Hub will remain open access for other nearby capture projects. Once built, this hub will be one of the world’s largest integrated carbon transportation and storage complexes.

In February 2022, Enbridge and the First Nation Capital Investment Partnership (FNCIP) announced an agreement to advance the Wabamun Hub. We also committed to offering our Indigenous partners, including Alexander First Nation, Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, Enoch Cree Nation, Paul First Nation and the Lac Ste. Anne Métis Community, a significant equity interest in associated CO2 transportation and storage infrastructure.

With the support of Indigenous partners, Capital Power and Heidelberg Materials, Enbridge applied to develop the Wabamun hub through the Alberta provincial government’s competitive carbon hub selection process. In late March 2022, the government of Alberta announced that Enbridge has been awarded the right to pursue development of the Wabamun hub. In September 2022, Enbridge signed a carbon sequestration evaluation agreement with the government of Alberta, an important step that allows us to advance evaluation of the geology underlying the Wabamun area.

A meaningful role in decarbonization

CCS will play a meaningful role in decarbonization of industry and energy, with the IEA forecasting that nearly 7 gigatonnes per year of CO2 would need to be captured in 2050 to meet global net-zero targets. Currently, about 317 million tonnes per year of CO(equivalent to emissions from more than 97 million cars) could be feasibly captured in North America alone—and as capture technologies continue to develop, significantly more CO2 emissions could be captured economically.

Enbridge sees opportunities to invest in all aspects of the CCS value chain, from CO2 capture to pipeline transportation and permanent storage. Enbridge is the ideal proponent to design, build, own and operate CCS infrastructure, given our experience, relationships, size, business model, financial strength, track record, and credit rating.

The long-lived nature of CCS assets aligns well with Enbridge’s low-risk business model. Additionally, given our extensive asset footprint, many opportunities will exist in close proximity to our existing assets.