Rule in CCS for carbon cuts, jobs, lower bills
Escalating global coal demand will drive global warming into the unknown territory of dangerous climate change.
An ambitious, government-led roll-out of carbon capture storage (CCS) technology in the UK would prevent carbon emissions free to air, generate thousands of jobs, create a market worth £15-35bn by 2030, and reduce household electricity bills by £82 a year. A joint report published today by the TUC and the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) also provides an answer to Cabinet energy adviser Lord Browne’s belief at the weekend that: “There are very few places in the world where CCS could be made to work. I would not rule it out but I would not rule it in.” In Canada (see picture) the first large scale CCS plant rules it in.
The TUC/CCSA report – The Economic Benefits of CCS in the UK – shows that a number of actions need to be taken by government in the immediate future to boost CCS and deliver significant benefits to the UK economy in the lifetime of the next parliament and beyond:
- CCS will help the UK meet statutory targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. Without CCS, the cost of meeting this target will rise by £30-40bn per year.
- CCS in the mix of low-carbon technologies results in a 15% reduction in wholesale electricity prices – leading to an average cut in household bills of £82 a year.
- Each new-build CCS power plant (for coal and gas) means between 1,000 and 2,500 jobs in construction, plus 200-300 jobs in operation, maintenance and supply chain.
- CCS will retain vital energy-intensive industries (such as chemicals, steel and cement manufacture) which employ 800,000 people directly and in supply chains.
- The total economic benefits of CCS could reach £2-4bn per year by 2030.
The value of CCS for power and industry was the talking point of a Unite/NUM conference last week attended by politicians, industry experts and workers in the energy sector. They warned that jobs are being lost and the UK is facing a “make or break moment” if the country is to take advantage of its prime position to be a world leader in carbon Ccpture technology.
Failure to embrace CCS would have devastating consequences for jobs, said the unions, because of the premature closure of coal fired power stations if CCS is not deployed. 800 jobs are due to be lost at Eggborough power station in North Yorkshire. Had CCS already been in use those jobs and the power produced by Eggborough would still be viable.