Government attempts to boost CCS with new comp

A move by government to revive its £1bn Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) competition and take its first steps to design the first workable demonstration project has been welcomed by industry.

Unveiled today (April 3) by energy secretary Ed Davey, the CCS Commercialisation Programme, which replaces the scrapped Longannet CCS scheme, aims to boost innovation in carbon capture and storage technologies.

It is anticipated the initiative, which is financed using public funding, will help the UK meet its climate change targets and boost energy security by encouraging development in CCS technology. A major change to the reformed competition is that it will be open to gas-powered stations.

Further funding is also being offered through various low carbon contracts, as well as £125m to support research and development and long-term Electricity Market Reform incentives.

According to Mr Davey, the CCS industry has the potential to be worth £6.5bn a year to the UK economy by the end of the next decade as more UK expertise and products are exported.

DECC have also anticipated that CCS could generate long-term opportunities for green jobs, creating about 100,000 new jobs in the sector by 2020.

Mr Davey said: “The potential rewards from Carbon Capture and Storage are immense: a technology that can de-carbonise coal and gas-fired power stations and large industrial emitters, allowing them to play a crucial part in the UK’s low carbon future.

“What we are looking to achieve, in partnership with industry, is a new world-leading CCS industry, rather than just simply projects in isolation – an industry that can compete with other low-carbon sources to ensure security and diversity of our electricity supply, an industry that can make our energy intensive industries cleaner and an industry that can bring jobs and wealth to our shores.”

Mr Davey also announced the publication of a UK wide CCS roadmap, which he said will set out the steps the Government is taking to develop the industry and help keep it on track.

The CBI said that while it welcomes the announcement that lessons must be learnt from the abandoned competition which took too long.

CBI director for business environment policy Rhian Kelly, said: “This time around the competition must be simpler and completed as quickly as possible.

“CCS has the potential to contribute significantly to our energy security, reduce carbon emissions, create jobs and become a major UK export for the future. If we are to gain any advantage from developing this important technology in the UK, the Government cannot afford to waste this opportunity.”

National Grid also welcomed the announcement with its network operations director, Chris Train saying that he believes the “development of CCS technology in the UK is vital to decarbonising industry, ensuring a diverse mix of electricity generation in the future and to helping meet carbon emission targets”.

Carys Matthews

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