A major carbon capture and storage (CCS) project planned for the Australian state of Victoria is to proceed with the help of A$100 million of state funding.

The funds will be provided by the Australian and Victorian governments to support feasibility work on the CarbonNet project, which could become one of the world’s first industrial-scale, multi-user CCS networks.

The funding has been awarded under Australia’s CCS Flagship Program, which supports the development and construction of large-scale integrated CCS projects.

The CarbonNet project will be initially sized to capture and store 1.2 million t of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per annum by 2020. The Victorian government says that it will have the potential to rapidly scale to support over 20 million t per annum.

It will also help the region to continue developing its coal resources without increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Investment in CCS is part of the Commonwealth’s suite of support for a range of clean energy technologies designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over time,” said Australian Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson.

“The economic base of the Latrobe valley depends on brown coal and while the government is committed to cutting CO2 emissions, the last thing we want to do is cut jobs in the process. Projects like CarbonNet will help shape a new economic future for this critical region.”

The Victoria government’s Department of Primary Industries manages the CarbonNet Project. The feasibility work will include modeling and testing of potential CO2 storage sites in Victoria.

In 2011 the Australian government selected the Collie South West Hub CCS project in Western Australia as the first project to win funding under the CCS Flagship Programme.

The Australian government has allocated funding of $1.68 billion dollars to the CCS Flagships Program. The country is keen to develop CCS technology to help ensure continued growth in its coal-dependent economy.