Later this month, the Government will make a decision on where to invest billions of pounds of funding for a national Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) Commercialisation Programme. In short, CCS is an important technology that prevents the release of CO2 into the atmosphere by capturing the gas from power stations and transporting it to be stored in underground geological formations. There are several projects across the UK bidding for the funding, including a cluster of projects in Yorkshire and the Humber.
Investment in CCS is vital if the UK is to meet its target to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, as research shows that the technology could contribute deliver one –fifth of global emission reductions. But the real potential of CCS goes way beyond just the environmental benefits, as this important new technology promises to provide a major boost to the economy and deliver thousands of jobs.
This week, CO2Sense launched a new report detailing the economic benefits of investing in CSS in Yorkshire and the Humber. It is clear from this report that the region is the best strategic location in Europe to build a CCS cluster in terms of delivering both economically and environmentally. Our research shows that it has the potential to deliver £1.3bn in economic benefits and 4000 new jobs, as well as boost the region’s economy by 0.8%. In addition, it will also safe guard many existing jobs in the region’s traditional heavy industries such as power, steel, chemicals and cement which have experienced significant job losses over the recent decades. On the whole, CCS in the UK has the potential to create 11,000 full time jobs by 2030, including up to 2,000 supply chain jobs
Five years on from the start of the great financial crisis and UK unemployment remains persistently high. Of course CCS is not a panacea to this problem, but it will act as a catalyst for further growth and job creation. Importantly, the majority of jobs created as a result of the investment in CCS will be both skilled and sustainable.
What we now need is for the Government to reinforce its commitment to roll out a national CCS commercialisation programme. To date, progress with CCS has been slow and no projects have been approved since a since a limited funding support mechanism was set up four years. The UK needs to display more urgency, as further delays could harm the UK’s economic growth prospects as well as derail our carbon reduction targets. This is why CO2Sense presented the findings of the report to a group of MPs in the Houses of Parliament earlier this week. We need to keep up the pressure and demonstrate that investment in CCS is investment in the long-term prosperity of the UK.