Future of CCS in the balance as plug pulled on test project

The government remains committed to a technology business appears unable to deliver after the collapse of four years of publicly funded work on the UK's only Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project.

The CCS Consortium, made up of ScottishPower, National Grid and Shell, has today (October 19) been scrapped after the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) decided against going ahead with the construction phase of the test scheme.

The project, based in Longannet in Scotland, was the only one remaining in the DECC funded competition to produce a commercially viable CCS project.

DECC will now take £1bn of further funding, that would have gone to the scheme, to new projects which energy secretary, Chris Huhne, called on to come forward to fill the gap.

He said: “CCS is a key technology for the UK’s long term energy strategy.

‪”Despite everyone working extremely hard, we’ve not been able to reach a satisfactory deal for a project at Longannet at this time, so we’ve taken the decision to pursue alternative projects.”

Although Competition One, as it the pilot project was known, will not now progress, the consortium hope the result of four year’s work into a potential commercial scale CCS project could still be useful

Speaking on behalf of the consortium, ScottishPower’s generation director, Hugh Finlay, said: “Our combined efforts have seen this potentially world-changing technology develop from being a concept in a laboratory to a definitive blueprint that could be implemented.

“As a result of the study we now understand how the CCS process works from power station to storage site.”

WWF Scotland director, Dr Richard Dixon, said: “Almost four years after launching its funding competition plans for CCS in the UK have descended into farce.

“The government’s decisions to roll forward the £1bn competition fund to fund other CCS projects is welcome but the process for identifying these must be urgently accelerated.

“Lots of valuable research and planning has been done around the Longannet proposal, which could put Scotland in pole position to have a CCS scheme at the existing gas-fired power station at Peterhead or the recently consented gas-fired power station at Cockenzie.”

Luke Walsh

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