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SEMINARS
Community Forum in Latrobe Valley

During August, BCIA held a second community forum in the Latrobe Valley to update local industry and community on BCIA’s activities and programs.

BCIA Chair, Gerry Morvell, and Chief Executive Officer, Phil Gurney, addressed the forum of about 60 attendees on opportunities and challenges for a sustainable future for brown coal. Dr Gurney also provided an update on BCIA’s innovation investment portfolio which comprises more than 20 research projects, ten of which are now complete, with a total leveraged value of more than $31 million.

BCIA’s role in securing a low emissions future for Australia’s world class brown coal resource is focussed on R&D investment, skills development and analysis and communication of low emissions research results. BCIA invests proactively in the development of technologies and people to broaden the use of brown coal for a sustainable future.

The forum presentation included an outline of the projected impact of renewable energy targets and carbon pricing on the cost of electricity over the next 30 years. The model forecast the impact of carbon pricing on various energy sources, including brown coal and renewables, with the application of different technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

Dr Gurney also detailed the expected contribution from R&D in delivering low-cost, low-emissions energy from coal and provided an overview of potential uses of brown coal including non-energy, value-added products such as a feedstock for the chemical industry.

The presentation provided community members with an insight into BCIA’s R&D investment approach including the company’s strong focus on the development of low-emissions technologies that are expected to achieve cost-reductions, risk-reductions or breakthroughs when deployed.


ABOVE: Industry representatives attend the community forum. From left: Jon McNaught (GHD), Gary Smith, Les Hunt (EEA), Roland Davies (AGL Loy Yang)

Of major interest to the audience was highlights from BCIA’s two competitive R&D funding rounds to date (the company has since announced a third competitive funding round for brown coal low-emissions energy projects). Dr Gurney outlined high-level outcomes from research projects across three major themes – improving energy efficiency, progressing carbon capture and alternate uses of brown coal.

In addition, the presentation included a brief overview of the linkages between BCIA and other government-related brown coal initiatives including the Advanced Lignite Demonstration Program (ALDP); Clean Coal Victoria and the CarbonNet Project.

Dr Gurney also highlighted BCIA’s investments in developing research skills and Australia’s future scientists through Research Fellowships and PhD scholarships, in addition to activities communicating the outcomes of the company’s research program including newsletters, research and community seminars and published articles.

The Victorian government member for Morwell, Russell Northe, attended the forum along with representatives from the CarbonNet project and various government bodies including Clean Coal Victoria and the Department of State Development, Business and Innovation.

ABOVE: Member for Morwell, Russell Northe (centre) with BCIA CEO, Dr Phil Gurney (left) and BCIA Chair, Gerry Morvell (right).

The forum also included strong representation from the Latrobe Valley energy generators and broader brown coal industry sector, Latrobe City Council and Wellington Shire Council and the local tertiary education sector.

Dr Gurney’s presentation was followed by an open question and answer session which generated strong audience interest and participation. Major themes of this session included questions about the adequacy of government support for low emissions research and development and the medium to long-term outlook for a sustainable future for brown coal.





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