Report: CCS could boost UK economy by £160bn

New research has claimed that carbon capture and storage (CCS) could boost the UK economy by more than £160bn if the technology is deployed on the east coast of the country.

The report by low-carbon power specialist Summit Power has found that benefits of deploying CCS in the region – valued at £163bn – would significantly outweigh the operating costs of £34bn.  It would also create an estimated 225,600 jobs and store 1,500 million tonnes of CO2, according to the study.

The calculations took into consideration factors such as an improved balance in UK imports and exports, reduced emissions costs and heightened domestic manufacturing activity.

Stephen Kerr, project director of the Caledonia Clean Energy Project, which led the study, said: “This work reframes the understanding of how investing in infrastructure that cleans up industry, air quality, and even your gas boiler, can benefit all of us.

“We’ve shown that for every £1 invested in carbon capture, the payback to the UK economy is almost £5. In the medium term, the strategic value to the UK in offering Europe-wide CO2 storage services is undeniable, and could more than double these numbers.”

Clean Growth Plan

The report claims that, under the proposed scheme, dedicated CO2 infrastructure would link clusters of major industry and power generation in Scotland, Teesside, the Humber region and the South East to CO2 offshore storage infrastructure in the North Sea.

CCS is expected to play an important role in the Government’s upcoming Clean Growth Plan, widely anticipated to be released in the upcoming weeks. The Government has faced criticism over its handling of CCS projects since closing the £1bn competition fund in 2015. Specifically, critics have argued that the decision could cost the UK an additional £30bn to meet its 2050 carbon targets.

CCS is the most cost-effective way of meeting climate change targets and needs to be deployed sooner rather than later, according to the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI). The organisation has previously highlighted that the UK has “more than enough” potential CCS sites to meet legally binding 2050 carbon targets in a cost-effective manner, which apparently could save up to £2bn annually throughout the 2020s.

George Ogleby

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