White Rose CCS illustration (Photo: White Rose CCS)
Chancellor devastates carbon capture industry with £1 billion funding cut #SpendingReview
Without informing Parliament today, the Chancellor broke has cut the entire £1 billion funding for the UK’s Carbon Capture and Storage programme, leaving the power and industrial sectors in a state of shock. CCS was a Tory Manifesto commitment: “We will protect our planet for our children…committing £1 billion for carbon capture and storage.” The Prime Minister will go to the Paris climate change treaty talks next Monday first having crushed the UK’s renewable energy and now its carbon capture industries. The TUC had initially welcomed today’s relief package for energy intensive industries, such as steel. But now, in private phone calls to industry, the government has revealed that it has scrapped public investment in a vital breakthrough technology for our foundation industries like steel, cement and chemicals, with massive energy bills and carbon emissions. Frankly the support package may be a road to nowhere without investment in breakthrough CCS technologies.
Dr Luke Warren, Chief Executive of the CCSA, commented:
“Today’s announcement that the funding for CCS will be cut is devastating. Only six months ago the Government’s manifesto committed £1 billion of funding for CCS. Moving the goalposts just at the time when a four year competition is about to conclude is an appalling way to do business.”
This announcement is a real blow to confidence for companies investing in CCS. We call on the Government to come forward – as a matter of urgency – with their plans for CCS as this technology is critical for the UK’s economic, industrial and climate policies. Without concrete Government support for CCS the UK will lose the opportunity for cost-effective decarbonisation.”
The independent Committee on Climate Change recently concluded that CCS is key to reducing emissions across the economy and could halve the cost of meeting the objectives of the Climate Change Act: “CCS is very important for reducing emissions across the economy and could almost halve the cost of meeting the 2050 target in the Climate Change Act.” The government has, however, chosen to ignore this independent expert advice.
The CCS prize for the UK would, of course, be significant. CCS can enable the UK to deliver its climate goals at least cost, saving up to £32 billion a year by 2050, creating up to 30,000 jobs by 2030 and providing a sustainable future for vital energy intensive industries. CCS is an absolutely essential part of the government’s 2050 “decarbonisation roadmaps” for our heavy industries.
The Government launched the CCS Commercialisation Programme (CCS Competition) in April 2012. The two preferred bidders in the competition are the White Rose project at the Drax site in Yorkshire and the Peterhead project in Scotland. Both were expected to report back in December, with government decisions due in the Spring.
A low carbon industrial strategy for Yorkshire and the Humber, a TUC-industry report, showed that the White Rose CCS project was ready to start construction in 2016, capable of capturing 17 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year from power stations and industry. The scheme would create an average of 1,000 new construction jobs, 100 operational jobs and further indirect supply and maintenance posts. In addition, National Grid’s proposed pipeline is expected to create up to 1,000 construction jobs and around 40 permanent jobs thereafter. The White Rose would provide the anchor for a carbon dioxide transportation and storage network in Yorkshire and the Humber that would be available for decades to come for industrial users.