Dr. Jennifer Wilcox
Biography for Jennifer Wilcox, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy and Carbon Management
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Remarks of Acting Assistant Secretary for FECM Dr. Jennifer Wilcox as prepared at the Asia CCUS Network Forum on June 22, 2021

 

Hello. My name is Jennifer Wilcox, Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management in the U.S. Department of Energy. 

I want to congratulate you on the launch of the Asia CCUS Network – and on the strong support it has received worldwide. The Department of Energy – and my office in particular – have worked with a number of your countries to advance solutions like CCUS and carbon recycling, so  I’m honored to be a part of your inaugural forum.  And I want to thank the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia for inviting me to say a few words to you today.

All of us know that the climate crisis is a global emergency, and one nation can’t respond to it alone.  It requires all of us to take the threat seriously and do what we need to meet the challenge and address this crisis – not only in our own countries and regions, but across the global community. That means we have to cooperate and collaborate with each other to advance solutions – particularly technology solutions that will drive the critical energy transition needed to tackle the world’s gravest crisis and most pressing challenge. 

CCUS is indispensable to that effort, and we at the Department of Energy are excited about the potential of the Asia CCUS Network to help move these technologies in the East Asia Summit region.  And even more, we appreciate the strong commitment to CCUS on the part of governments and institutions in the region that led to the formation of this new and important effort. 

We have a challenging road ahead.  But the good news is that while much more still needs to be done, we’ve seen some real progress on CCUS over the past decade.  For example, in their recent CCUS status report, the Global CCS Institute noted that in 2020 there were 65 commercial CCS projects in various stages of development worldwide – a 33 percent increase over 2019. 

At the same time, we’re seeing movement on a number of exciting CCUS approaches and projects.  For example, at the Department of Energy we’re exploring the expansion of CCUS beyond the power sector to help decarbonize industrial sectors as well.  And we’re leveraging work we’ve been doing on CCUS to help advance direct air capture.

But it’s not just our work that will help make the difference. CCUS technologies are set to play an important role in supporting clean energy transitions in the East Asia Summit Region – from reducing emissions in the region’s power and industrial sectors to supporting new economic opportunities associated with the production of low-carbon hydrogen.

And we’re seeing groundbreaking efforts to develop and deploy CCUS in the region.  For instance, Southeast Asia is home to at least three large-scale CCUS projects – and Singapore and Indonesia have established leading CCUS research programs. In Malaysia, Petronas is deploying CCUS technology at the Kasawari gas facility.  In Indonesia, Japanese firms are working with PT Pertamina to inject up to 300,000 tons of CO2 a year at the Gundih gas field, and a Spanish firm is studying the potential of storing millions of tons of CO2 in in South Sumatra. And Australian and Japanese oil and gas companies and research organizations are exploring an offshore CCUS hub in northern Australia that could store CO2 from around Asia Pacific.

Underpinning these and other important efforts is the commitment to advance CCUS – a commitment underscored by the fact that, as I record this, 11 East Asia Summit member governments and more than 130 supporting members are represented in the Asia CCUS Network. 

So, there’s an enormous opportunity to advance CCUS in the East Asia Summit Region – and to strengthen international collaboration to deploy these critical technologies.  We’re entering an exciting – and critical – time for CCUS deployment, where that collaboration will be more important than ever. 

We all know that it won’t be easy.  This kind of transformational work never is.  It’s always challenging, and it requires collaboration across government, industry, and academia – and across international borders.

I believe the Asia CCUS Network will play a leading role in that effort – and not only in the East Asia Summit region.  What you’re doing will contribute to the global effort to meet the greatest challenge of our era – winning the fight against climate change.  And we at the Department of Energy welcome the opportunity to work with you to develop and deploy technology solutions like CCUS to meet that challenge and ensure that the Earth is a livable home, not just for us but for future generations.

So, again, congratulations on the launch of the Asia CCUS Network, and I hope you have a very productive and successful forum.