CCS stuck on Amber
Three times today at the CCSA’s annual reception the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, was pressed to clarify the extent of government support for carbon capture & storage (CCS). Can the supply chain bank on two CCS projects and look forward to further CCS projects? “You are asking for more certainty than I can give you at the moment.” The whole industry is waiting to find out if there’s more to CCS than two projects. When will we know? “I am sorry to disappoint, but I don’t have the answer.”
A third industry question from a construction sector engineer commented that the only way to bring down costs is developing CCS at scale. The supply chain and investors need to know what the plan is. “We need more private sector investment,” was the response.
Earlier, the Energy Secretary drew interest in her opening remarks when she spoke of building a CCS hub with UK and EU support. But then conditioned the comment by adding, “possibly supported by up to £1bn of taxpayers’ money … we need to balance support with looking after bill payers’ money.”
The Conservative’s 2015 manifesto refers to “committing £1 billion for carbon capture and storage.” For the industry, the title of the CCSA’s new report, Delivering CCS – Essential infrastructure for a competitive, low-carbon economy, says it all.
Without CCS the cost of reaching the UK decarbonisation goals in 2050 could double, costing the UK economy an additional £32bn per year or 1% of GDP in 20501.
No other technology has such a dramatic impact on the costs of achieving a low-carbon economy.
To deliver the considerable economic benefits of CCS it is necessary to institute a progressive build-out of CCS so that by 2030 the UK has in the region of 10GW of power stations fitted with CCS and between 40 – 10 MtCO2 being captured from energy intensive industries every year.
Deploying CCS, alongside renewables and nuclear, could deliver electricity prices around 15% lower in 2030 than decarbonising without CCS.
The association’s three big asks of government are:
- Delivering two competition projects as the critical foundation for a UK CCS industry.
- Enabling a second phase of CCS in parallel to the two competition projects.
- Establishing grant funding of up to £100m to bring forward adequate storage appraisal.
But with the Chancellor fine tuning an new austerity package that will likely impact heavily on the energy and business departments, as the Energy secretary said, you are asking more than I can give at the moment.