Government doubts over clean coal plans
News of a Treasury review of the government’s £9bn clean coal programme comes hard on the heels of a warning from climate change Minister Greg Barker that firms should prepare for “project cuts and reduced incentives.” The CSR looks set to deliver serious damage to green programmes.
Speaking to delegates at the CBI yesterday, Barker wouldn’t comment on the fate of specific programmes, including the Renewable Heat Incentive, about which Ministers have already voiced doubts. But he warned that “some very good projects” will have to be scaled back, while some less significant programmes will be axed altogether.
DECC fears that its plans for four new carbon capture and storage (CCS) plants will be scaled back, maybe to one or two schemes now, with the remainder on the back burner for a decade. Three of the CCS projects are due to be paid for from a new consumer levy. We’ve argued that CCS for coal and gas is essential not only to meet the goal of almost completely decarbonising our electricity supply by 2030, but to export this technology to high coal burners like the US and China. If the government is serious about a private sector/export-led recovery, then CCS technology is crucial to that success.
Meanwhile, Hargreaves, the coal supply group, has posted strong full year profit reports, in today’s Daily Telegraph. The group, owner of Maltby Colliery in Yorkshire, apparently also wants to move into small biomass power generation. But the message is clear, with coal-fired power generation here to stay, government support for CCS is vital.
Barker CBI sppeach was pledging to treat all future energy policies with TLC – transparency, longevity and certainty. We thought that the proposed CCS levy was meant to provide exactly that: policy certainty for clean coal and gas technology?