CCS to compete with renewables ‘as early as the 2020s’

Fossil fuel power generation with carbon capture and storage (CCS) has the potential to compete cost-effectively with other low-carbon forms of energy in the 2020s, according to a report published today.

Commissioned as a collaboration between the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Crown Estate and industry members, the report claims the sector will be able to generate electricity at an average cost approaching £100 per MWh by the early 2020s, and at a cost significantly below £100 per MWh soon after.

The report states that reductions in the cost of CCS electricity can be achieved in the early 2020s through investment in large offshore CO2 storage clusters, by supplying multiple onshore CO2 emitters and with investment in large, shared pipelines with high usage.

In the early 2020s, progressive improvements in CO2 capture technology capacity should be available at large power stations, according to the report.

A reduction in the cost of project capital through a set of measures will reduce risk and improve investor confidence in the sector.

In addition, the exploitation of potential synergies with CO2 based enhanced oil recovery in some Central North Sea oil fields would also help, according to the report.

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey claimed the report’s findings demonstrated great potential for the future of the industry.

“By bringing its costs down, CCS can be cost competitive with other low carbon technologies as early as the 2020s. Deployment at scale will bring investment and jobs, not just to the power sector but across the whole supply chain, including our offshore oil and gas industries,” he said.

Crown Estate director of energy and infrastructure Rob Hastings added: “With many of the UK’s fossil fuel plants set to be decommissioned soon and with challenging EU targets for carbon reductions, its welcome news that CCS looks set to compete as a major player in the nation’s low carbon future.”

Conor McGlone

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