CCS could cut UK decarbonisation costs by £32bn - lobby

The CCS Association (CCSA) has come up with a study that declares the UK could save £32bn in meeting decarbonisation targets by developing large scale carbon capture and storage technology.

The association claims emissions can be reduced at the lowest possible cost,  calculating that by 2030 the UK needs to have 10 GW of power stations fitted with the technology, along with a substantial roll out at industrial sites.

Some environmental groups have disputed the need for CCS, arguing it distracts investment from renewables and is difficult to deliver at scale. But CCS is involved in most of the official government scenarios for limiting global emissions so that worldwide temperature rise is limited to 2C, with ministers keen to use the steady baseload power CCS can provide to back up more intermittent sources such as wind turbines and solar panels.

The CCSA also advocates deploying CCS alongside renewables and nuclear, which it maintains would result in electricity prices that are about 15 per cent lower in 2030, as well as generating valuable export opportunities, creating thousands of jobs and preserving employment in heavy industries. The new paper says CCS can be cost competitive with offshore wind by the mid-2020s.

More controversially, it suggests one way CCS costs could be lowered is by using the trapped gas to extract hard to reach oil from the North Sea.

The industry is concerned Europe is falling behind competitors such as North America, where the world's first large scale CCS plant opened last year and two more projects are set to start operation in 2015.

A Grantham Institute study last week called for €35bn worth of CCS investment by 2030 to meet EU energy goals and the CCSA report echoes the demand for urgent action.

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