The recently-launched EU Energy Union offers a chance to put carbon capture and storage firmly on the European map.

That’s the view of Chris Littlecott, EU policy advisor with Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage, who told a CCS conference in London that the Energy Union needs to drive enabling infrastructures for CCS.

He said that he had three key objectives for the Energy Union to deliver: Bankable CO2 storage in strategic locations; Trans-boundary transport to access CO2 storage; and carbon storCarbon capture and storageage hubs in industrial clusters.

He added that Europe was witnessing “a change in thinking of the value for CCS in Europe”. He said Portugal, for example, would have less use for CCS on power plants but would have great use for carbon capture utilisation on cement manufacturing facilities.

During the event, news broke that the UK and Scottish governments had announced that £4.2m of funding would be available for industrial research and feasibility work for a proposed 570 MW CCS plant in Grangemouth, Scotland.

And with the UK 40 days away from voters going to the polls in a General Election, several speakers stressed the need for further political backing of CCS.

Emrah Durusut, senior consultant at Element Energy, said that a 10 GW CCS sector could be established by 2030 if its development was backed by a “supportive policy environment”.

And he added that momentum in the sector was crucial for securing and maintaining financial backing – one project every five years was no good he said.

Luke Warren, managing director of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, said: “We are going into an election where we have broad political consensus on CCS – but CCS has to be cost competitive.”

He stressed that “developing no CCS projects would be a disaster for the UK. The next 18 months are going to be critical.” He said what was needed after the election was that the £1bn allocated by the current government is maintained along with the already published contracts for Difference for CCS.

And he added: “If you are not interested in dealing with climate change then you are not interested in CCS. There is no credible way we can deliver on carbon reduction without CCS – CCS is of real value to the global economy.”