UK Government’s welcome backing of CCUS a huge boost for net-zero 2050

The turn of the decade brought hope and expectation on a renewed commitment to tackling climate change as the eyes of the world turned towards the UK ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).

UK Government’s welcome backing of CCUS a huge boost for net-zero 2050

As the UK Government prepared its bid to host the landmark conference, it took a transformative step in becoming the first major world economy to set a legally binding net-zero emissions target in June of 2019, positioning itself as a global climate leader.

The decision to set this 2050 net-zero target was recommended by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the UK’s independent climate advisory body. The very same body that has repeatedly stressed carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) is a necessity, not an option, in achieving this target.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s recent ‘10-point plan for a green industrial revolution’ – ten individual points which together totalled a combined commitment to investment of £13bn into green initiatives, industries and technologies – delivered a set of solid commitments fit for a global climate leader. With it, came an additional £200m to establish CCUS in two industrial clusters by the mid-2020s and two more by 2030.

Momentum had been growing behind the deployment of this essential technology, with BEIS Ministers publicly endorsing its potential. However, the Prime Minister’s latest pledge, which was rubber-stamped by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his latest Spending Review, confirmed that the tide had truly turned.

Some are still sceptical of CCUS and we as an industry will work to encourage future acceptance through engaging meaningfully with the public, explaining the technologies that underpin it. In the example of Net Zero Teesside (NZT), carbon emitted from a cluster of heavy industries and a new flexible gas-fired power station will be captured and transported through a pipeline network to the North Sea where it will be stored in a deep geological formation.

Our industry is eager to collaborate to make CCUS in the UK a reality, shown recently by our partnership with Zero Carbon Humber, to form the Northern Endurance Project, which will develop the offshore transportation and storage elements of the two projects.

Ultimately, we envision the potential to capture up to 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent to the annual energy use of over 3 million UK homes, and support up to 5,500 direct jobs in the Teesside region during construction – helping to deliver on the nation’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.

Additionally, we aim to support the UK’s power grid during its clean energy transition, with the installation of a high-efficiency gas-fired power station with CO2 emission abatement that can deliver low-carbon power to back-up renewable energy sources.

It has been heartening to witness the progress to not only make CCUS a reality in the UK, but potentially a flagship industry. In the midst of a bleak year, it has been a true highlight. Now, with further direction from Government, is the time to ensure a greener future by deploying CCUS at a national scale this decade.

edie explains: Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage

What is carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS)? What are the different types of CCUS technology? How can businesses benefit from CCUS? And what are the costs associated with CCUS? This new edie Explains guide answers all of these key questions and more.

The guide, produced in association with Carbon Clean, answers all of the questions that businesses might have in relation to CCUS, a technology that is viewed as a crucial component in efforts to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Download the CCUS explains guide here.

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