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North Sea nations key to Europe’s low-carbon transition, says report



North Sea nations, including the UK, have the skills and storage capacity to deliver a carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry that is capable of transforming Europe’s industry and power sectors, according to a report from Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS). 

The report argues that CCS technology can provide a cost effective transition to a low-carbon future and a reliable electricity supply whilst securing economic resilience. The report calls for policy within the EU to help the sector develop and receive the finance needed for the technology to be deployed.

CCS technology is installed at fossil fuel plants and captures emissions at the source, allowing them to be stored safely underground. Last year the UK Energy and Climate Change Committee said that carbon capture and storage technology must be fast tracked into use in UK power plants as it is “absolutely vital” to efforts to curb climate change.

The report argues that to encourage large emitters to use CCS technology, a target of capturing a minimum of 220 million tonnes of CO2 each year by 2030 should be set. It also states that CCS could secure industrial output, jobs and enhance energy security by allowing polluting energy sources to provide back-up power to intermittent renewable energy without emitting carbon, and as a result, it adds, an ‘insurance’ against carbon pricing is essential.

SCCS director, Professor Stuart Haszeldine said, “There are still policy blockages and funding gaps. If Europe wishes to be amongst the leaders in climate clean up – and wants to maximise the contribution of its science and business expertise to catalysing international action – then further domestic policy efforts are required before 2020.

“The primary challenge for CCS in Europe is not the technology but the need to get the commercial incentives and policy frameworks right. CCS is a large-scale climate change mitigation tool, and needs to be treated as such.”

The report includes a ten-point plan for EU policymakers if it is to encourage CCS development, funding and take up, including providing specific funding to construct carbon capture clusters and encouraging the research community to take lead on defining future research and development needs for cost reduction.

Photo: Berardo62 via Flickr 

Further reading:

Labour promises to invest in carbon capture and storage

EU set to fund UK carbon capture and storage project

Norway steps up carbon capture and storage research

Carbon capture and storage must be fast-tracked to UK power plants, MPs urge

Davey unveils £20m Scottish carbon capture and storage investment