CCSA remains positive despite Drax decision

The Carbon Capture and Storage Association is continuing to look on the bright side despite Drax’s announcement last week, although its chief executive acknowledged the industry is at a crucial juncture.

Dr Luke Warren, Chief Executive of the CCSA says if key investments don’t materialise the technology could face a decade in the wilderness.
Luke Warren, CCSA
In response to the announcement that Drax is withdrawing as an investor in the White Rose CCS project, Dr Warren commented: “While it is disappointing news for Drax that they will not be participating as an investor in White Rose, it is clearly positive that they recognise the value of this exciting project and are fully behind its development at the Drax site.”

“It is also encouraging to hear that Capture Power remains committed to the delivery of the project and the UK CCS commercialisation programme. White Rose is key to delivering real benefits to the Yorkshire and Humber region by developing the CO2 infrastructure that provides the foundation for a low-carbon industry in the region.”

Prior to the announcement, Power Engineering International had put it to the CCSA that the US was doing far more for the advancement of the technology than the EU, which appeared to be concerned with rhetoric.

Dr Warren didn’t agree with this and pointed out that funds had been allocated for the purpose of driving CCS forward within the Eurozone.

“There is actually a significant amount of activity on the CCS R&D front in the UK and Europe more widely. The UK has a à‚£125m 4-year CCS R&D programme, which has already allocated funding to 100+ projects.”

Europe has a number of calls for CCS under the Horizon 2020 programme and has already allocated around €70 million to CCS R&D projects. CCS is also considered to be a key part of the research and innovation dimension of the EU Energy Union strategy.”

Despite that impassioned defence Dr Warren knows the technology’s credibility as a real option is facing deliverance day.

“The coming months are absolutely critical for CCS in the UK and the government must successfully deliver two projects from the CCS competition in order to achieve its goals of delivering a cost-competitive CCS industry in the 2020s. Failure to secure this investment will set back CCS by more than a decade with profound implications for the UK’s energy, industrial and climate policies.”

Again referring to the Drax decision to pull out of the White Rose project he said, “This development is symptomatic of the wider challenges facing the energy market and highlights the importance of Government establishing the regulatory and market framework that can secure the required investment. Government has to come forward and provides clarity on its intention for CCS”.

Given that context, Dr Warren warmly greeted recent releases from the Zero Emissions Platform, a group who advises the European Commission on carbon capture and storage, who have come up with an action plan aimed at developing the technology’s prospects in the EU.

He said he was pleased to see the ZEP executable plan strongly recommending a number of actions that the CCSA have also been calling for, in particular, ensuring that CCS projects in development get over the finish line, timely development of transport and storage infrastructure which will lay the foundations for CCS clusters across Europe and further appraisal of sufficient storage capacity to support the commercial deployment of the CCS industry.

“If the recommendations in the ZEP plan are taken on board by the European Commission, then Europe has a real opportunity to take a leading position in developing CCS and demonstrate at COP21 that CCS is a vital part of Europe’s climate and energy strategy.”

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