A new UK strategy from the Carbon Capture and Storage Association could create 50,000 jobs by the mid-20s, and should be one of the pillars of the government’s plan for growth. It would require government leadership to shift its declared strategy to support carbon capture for power generation, by adding the capture of carbon emissions from industrial plants like steel and chemical works. That means more public funding and government leadership – but it could help secure long-term, green economic growth.
Core industries like steel and chemicals urgently need CCS support to help secure their manufacturing base in the UK against foreign competitors who don’t share our commitment to tackling climate change. The plan could save 100Mt of CO2 per year, and create a market worth £10bn/year to UK plc by 2025.
The CCSA’s Strategy for CCS in the UK and Beyond will be launched on 8 September at the first AGM of the All Party-Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Clean Coal, which will now be known as the APPG on CCS.
At present the government is investing £1bn of public funds in a CO2 capture scheme for a single coal fired power station. To add to that carbon capture for industry means creating a CCS network and boosting the capacity of the CCS scheme by, say, 25%, to take the greater flows of carbon to undersea storage sites. That means more investment, and to the question, Who will pay? Obviously, the TUC would argue that government should underpin the risk, eg through the Green Investment Bank.
But whatever the funding outcome, one thing is clear: the economics of costs and benefits need reassessing, and it’s hard to believe that anything other than a sizeable gain for the economy and the climate would result.