CCS lobby insistent on UK potential

A new report from the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute has reinforced the message that the North Sea is an ideal site for C02 storage.

The group’s latest report ” Global Storage Portfolio: A Global Assessment of the Geological CO2 Storage Resource Potential – again emphasises the suitability of the UK‘s waters for carbon capture and storage technology.

Professor Stuart Haszeldine, Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage director, said: “It is clear that worldwide, there is plenty of CO2 storage capacity that can be developed, many times that estimated by the International Energy Agency as needed by 2050.Professor Stuart Haszeldine

“The storage potential beneath the seas around the UK is highlighted as exceptionally well-known, understood and accessible, and this presents a real opportunity for Scotland and the UK which the government should grasp.”

The report has emerged just a month after the UK government opted to scrap plans for a à‚£1bn fundà‚ for a cutting-edge CCS scheme in Peterhead, northeast Scotland, despite Prime Minister à‚ David Cameron’s previously referring to the technology as “critical” to meet environmental targets.

In explaining the decision not to go ahead he said, “The economics at the moment really aren’t working”.

However CCS advocates are persisting. Mr Haszeldine said: “CCS in the UK is far from dead and North Sea industries could be looking to widen their interests into a long-duration sustainable future of CO2 storage, as well as concentrating on cost reductions in their existing businesses.”

A department for energy and climate change spokesperson said in response to queries about the rationale for cancelling the Peterhead project, “We haven’t closed the door to CCS technology in the UK, but as part of our ongoing work to get Britain’s finances back on track, we have had to take difficult decisions to control Government spending.”

“CCS should come down in cost and we are considering the role that it could play in the long-term decarbonisation of the UK. We are committed to meeting our climate change targets in a way that is affordable and provides secure energy to our families and businesses.”
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A government official told Power Engineering International, “The government was clear that this capital was subject to affordability. The spending review was a tight financial settlement and difficult decisions have had to be made. à‚ Government has not taken this decision lightly.”

Power Engineering International put it to DECC that accelerated advances in storage, particularly emanating from the US, might dispense with the need for CCS altogether. If the so-called ‘holy grail’ has indeed been found and can be commercialised at an equally quick rate, more renewables could be added to the grid, with green technology’s intermittency issue being overcome.

DECC was non-committal on that point, telling PEi, “Our priority is providing clean, secure energy at the lowest possible price for families and businesses. We recognise the potential for storage technologies to help us use energy flexibly.”

The department pointed to a speech by the energy secretary Amber Rudd last year, when she said DECC funding for innovation is already supporting the development of transformative technologies in the UK in energy storage. She said the government is looking at removing regulations that are holding back smart solutions, such as storage.”

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