Carbon capture: Report sets out 10-point plan for EU policymakers

A new report has reiterated that North Sea nations have the skills and the storage capacity to deliver a thriving Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) industry, with a 10-point plan which outlines the specific support needed from the EU.

The report – A CCS future for Europe: catalyzing North Sea action – released today (29 January) by Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS) says that regional carbon capture “clusters” of emitters would have the ability to transform Europe’s power sector providing the cheapest transition to a reliable low-carbon future. 

It urgently calls for specific policy support and wider political ambition within the European Union, highlighting the need for robust business models for CO2 transport and storage in the North Sea basin.

SCCS director Professor Stuart Haszeldine said: “Earlier this week, a review of the CCS Directive recommended a Europe-wide target of 220 million tonnes a year for CCS deployment by 2030 due to the ‘genuine and urgent need for CCS in Europe’.

“Our new report strongly supports this finding and shows how the North Sea region can accelerate delivery of CCS across many nations. We specify actions to deliver essential infrastructure, and pinpoint incentives to support CO₂ transport and storage as well as develop cost-effective CCS clusters in regions across Europe.” 

High-value tech

Carbon capture and storage is an experimental technology that traps emissions produced at power plants to reduce their contribution to climate change. The report released last week by the European Commission said the technology would have to account for over a fifth of the world’s carbon cuts by 2050.

SCCS’s 10-point plan comes as the European Commission meets stakeholders in Edinburgh to discuss a strategic vision for energy infrastructure in the North Sea basin. SCCS calls for CCS technology to be recognised financially as a high-value climate change technology, with targeted funding support to develop the ‘clusters’.

Europe must also look to the example of a profitable business model in North America where there is a CO2 pipeline infrastructure and the use of CO2 in enhanced oil recovery, before developing robust business models itself, SCCS says. 

CCS: 10-point plan for EU policymakers:

  • Rapidly deliver a renewed New Entrants Reserve financing instrument (NER400) of the EU’s Emissions Trading System to support new industrial and power generation CCS projects 
  • Support the creation of CO2 transport and storage infrastructure through the EU’s Projects of Common Interest, including pipeline construction and CO₂ shipping 
  • Create capture-to-storage CCS cluster plans for Europe’s industrial regions 
  • Provide specific funding, through the EU or Member States, to construct regional carbon capture clusters 
  • Reward CO₂ transport and storage with clear pricing mechanisms 
  • Undertake analyses to identify tariff incentive mechanisms for CCS 
  • Develop a CO₂-Enhanced Oil Recovery plan for the North Sea 
  • Encourage the research community to take lead on defining future research and development (R&D) needs for cost reduction with strategic industry input 
  • Ensure R&D priorities are informed by industry needs, with feedback from demonstration projects being developed worldwide 
  • Support existing CCS networks and bodies and their work to exchange information between industry and academia; government and regulators; and financiers and insurers 

Earlier this week, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) held a seminar at the University of Aberdeen focusing on the next steps to ensure that Scotland makes the most of opportunities –  highlighted in the report The Economic Benefits of CCS in the UK, released last February.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Carbon capture storage technology offers a way to meet our environmental targets, while creating thousands of skilled, well-paid jobs and transforming regional economies.

“This is a great opportunity to re-invigorate our manufacturing sector and bring new research and development, design and construction jobs to areas like Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland. But without stronger government backing the UK risks losing its competitive advantage, and all the jobs and economic activity that CCS could bring.”

Lucinda Dann

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie