1 Introduction

Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) is being proposed as a key mitigation strategy for fossil fuel based industries. Australia is deeply entwined with the international movement to progress the deployment of CCS and is considered one of the leaders in terms of the approach that governments, both state and national, have taken to progress its deployment. However, like many new and emerging technologies, CCS remains relatively unknown with some perceived risks. If not addressed, evidence has shown that these risks and general lack of understanding about the technology will have a serious impact on the successful deployment of CCS. This has been particularly evident in Europe over the past year (Desbarats et al. 2010).

In May 2009, the Australian Government pledged AU$2.425 billion over nine years for the CCS Flagships program. This included $2 billion in new funding for development of low emission coal technologies and to support two to four industrial-scale CCS projects. As a result of a competitive process, on 8 December 2009, Minister Ferguson announced a shortlist of four CCS projects (DRET, 2010). The Collie Hub project in the South West of Western Australia (WA) was one of those shortlisted.

The Collie Hub project has been established to examine the options of CCS in the South West of WA. Initial studies have identified the Lesueur formation, north of Kemerton industrial area, as the best potential storage site for CO2. The next stage of the project includes new data collection and analysis involving a seismic survey and a drilling project to obtain deep core samples.

Recognising the importance of early stakeholder engagement to progress the project through its various stages, the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum engaged the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to conduct one of its low emission energy technology workshops in Harvey. The aim of the workshop was twofold: first, to provide participants with the latest information on the topic of climate change and low emission energy technologies, including an update on the Collie Hub project. Second, to understand participants’ views and reactions to the information presented, as part of the CSIRO’s ongoing research aimed at understanding the Australian publics’ perceptions of the range of low emission energy technologies.

This report presents the outcomes of this workshop. It provides a detailed description of the methodology used in the workshop; a summary of the workshop participants’ characteristics and their environmental profiles; a summary of the descriptive statistics of the key measures taken throughout the workshop process, including qualitative data examples to support the key research findings; and finally, a discussion of the key messages that emerged from the workshop and an evaluation of its effectiveness.