UK publishes CCS roadmap

The UK government today published its first carbon capture and storage roadmap.

The roadmap sets out the steps the government is taking to develop what it hopes will be the world’s leading CCS industry in the 2020s, including £125m of funding for research and development, including a new £13m UK CCS Research Centre; planned long term contracts for difference through its Electricity Market Reform to drive investment in commercial scale CCS; and a focus on international engagement, in particular on learning from other projects around the world.
Ed Davey, UK Energy Minister
Energy secretary Ed Davey said the potential rewards from CCS “are immense, a technology that can de-carbonise coal and gas-fired power stations and large industrial emitters, allowing them to play a crucial part in the UK’s low carbon future”.

He added: “What we are looking to achieve, in partnership with industry, is a new world-leading CCS industry, rather than just simply projects in isolation – an industry that can compete with other low-carbon sources to ensure security and diversity of our electricity supply.”

He predicted the CCS industry could be worth £6.5bn a year to the UK economy by the end of the next decade “as we export UK expertise and products”.

Jeff Chapman, chief executive of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, welcomed today’s announcement. He said: “It creates an opportunity for the UK to take a leading role in world markets whilst cost-effectively reducing emissions, creating employment and generating prosperity.”

The country’s transmission operator National Grid also backed the roadmap. Network operations director Chris Train said: “We believe the development of CCS technology in the UK is vital to decarbonising industry, ensuring a diverse mix of electricity generation in the future and to helping meet carbon emission targets.”

CCS development in the UK has suffered stop-start progress in the past year. Plans for a plant at Longannet collapsed in October while a month later the country’s largest operational demonstration project opened at Ferrybridge in Yorkshire.

The publication of the roadmap comes at a time when there is a question mark over investment opportunities in the UK energy industry following RWE and E.ON’s decision to pull out of the Horizon nuclear programme. Last week RWE chief executive Volker Beckers said the government’s Energy Bill and its Electricity Market Reform was “pulling too many levers at once” and added: “If the Energy Bill is deemed unworkable then the investment potential in the UK will be diminished. There will be better places to invest – that is the simple truth.”

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