EC Commissioner backs CCS as key climate change technology

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) stands out as one of the most important technological solutions if Europe is to achieve its goals for energy and climate change, insists the EU Commissioner for Energy, Guenther Oettinger.
 
Speaking at the Annual Technology Evening of the European Power Plant Suppliers Association (EPPSA) in Brussels yesterday, Oettinger argued that CCS represented a business opportunity for Europe’s equipment manufacturers, with the potential for CCS to be retrofitted to around 300 power plants across the continent.

“Greenhouse gas emissions must peak and fall in the next decade and we cannot rely on wind and solar alone for this. Fossil fuel will remain an important source for power generation for many years but we cannot continue to burn it in the same way,” said the Commissioner.

“CCS can play an important role in reducing emissions for coal and gas plants as well as heavy industry, while we further develop renewable energy solution.”

Commissioner Oettinger called for increased cooperation between member states in developing a network for the transportation of CO2, pointing out that not all countries were able to develop storage facilities themselves.

He said that greater public engagement would be required in the future if acceptance of CCS was to be achieved but that this would not be easy. “It will take time and resource and clear communication to bring local communities onboard,” said Oettinger.

Speaking in a panel discussion following the Commissioner’s Keynote speech, Helen Donoghue, from the Energy Strategy Unit of the EC’s Energy Directorate, said that the price of carbon was too low at present to encourage low-carbon technologies. “The carbon price will determine the future of CCS,” said Donoghue.
 
Spokesman for WWF, Mark Johnston said that Europe was not doing enough to lower carbon intensity. “The less that is done now, the more will be required later,” said Johnston. “Rationing (emission permits) might work but we need to create more scarcity to force up prices.”

The European Commission, European Investment Bank and member states are planning to part-finance up to eight CCS demonstration plants under its NER300 programme, which will see around EUR4.5bn ($6.2bn) raised through the sale of new emission allowances for CCS and renewable energy projects.

The balance of funding must come from member states schemes and there is concern that in some countries, policies are not in place to accomplish this.

 EPPSA used the opportunity of the Technology Evening to introduce Franz-Josef Mengade as the incoming president of the association. Mengade, who is head of Business Unit Power Generation at ABB Management Services, replaces Andreas Wittke, German country president of Alstom, who is stepping down after five years in the role.
 
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