Public Engagement Activities of the Tomakomai CCS Demonstration Project
9 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 15, 2021
The Tomakomai CCS Demonstration Project has been conducted over a nine-year period from JFY(*)2012 through 2020 by Japan CCS Co., Ltd. (JCCS) in Tomakomai City, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan, under commissioning by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). From JFY2018, the project has been under the commissioning of New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) with subsidies from METI. As the project is being conducted close to the center of Tomakomai, a large industrial city with a population of approximately 170,000, extensive public engagement activities are being carried out. (*Japanese fiscal year: April of calendar year to March of following year)
For the successful and smooth completion of the Tomakomai Project, JCCS prioritized securing the trust of the local community through sustained communication on the need for CCS through information related to global warming and energy issues, as well as risk communication on such topics as CO2 leakage and induced seismicity. It divided the target audience by age group and tailored its public outreach program in order to effectively disseminate information to each group. It also maintained an information disclosure system in the Tomakomai city hall as well as on its homepage. A highlight in its activities was the development of highly visual, easy to understand materials that would draw public attention and help provide clear, accurate information and context. JCCS has also conducted close communications with the local government and key stakeholders. A key factor was the strong support provided by the local government, which established the Tomakomai CCS Promotion Association, providing for the smooth communication of information to the relevant parties.
The safety and security of CO2 storage at the Tomakomai site was seriously tested by the occurrence of a major earthquake in September 2018, 30km from the injection area. JCCS responded as quickly as possible, providing explanation that the injected CO2 was unaffected and disclosing supporting data. It also convened an expert review meeting, which confirmed the integrity of the CO2 storage, and that there was no relationship between the CO2 injection and the earthquake. These efforts were largely successful in addressing the concerns of key stakeholders and the general public. The Tomakomai project is recognized as a case of the central government, local community, and private sector working closely together in carrying out a CCS project. Over the course of the project, JCCS has actively reached out to the international community to share information and learnings acquired through the project with a view to pursue collaboration in order to accelerate the deployment of CCS.
Keywords: Tomakomai; public engagement; public outreach; risk communication
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