Energy Minister, Claire Perry, says the UK Government wants to look at Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) “really seriously”, just over two years after Westminster axed a £1billion grant to develop the technology.
A project backed by Shell and SSE at Peterhead Power Station was among the preferred bidders to fit the new CCS technology when it was cancelled in November of 2015.
However, Ms Perry says the UK Government is committed to developing the technology which she calls “vital” in meeting emissions targets.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work on this because without that technology we will not achieve our decarbonisation targets, whether it is power generation or in industrial processes.
“The problem we’ve had is no one is doing it cost-effectively. There are 21 plants globally, 16 of them use enhanced oil recovery as a revenue stream, the others just rely on incredibly big subsidies from somebody.
“I see my job as to decarbonise, keep bills down and develop technologies that we can export around the world.”
Ms Perry admitted that dropping the £1billion competition grant was “disappointing”, but added that the format did not meet the tests of developing the technology in a cost-effective way.
“Roll-forward now, we’ve got the oil and gas climate initiative, 10 of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies coming together wanting to spend a billion pounds on this technology, we’re working very actively with them to make sure we’re the first place that they invest.
“We’ve got a carbon capture taskforce to drive the cost down – like we did with offshore wind – and we’ve got £100m of new money to spend on innovation.
“We see it as vital, we want to be a world-leader in the new technology, but we need to do it at the right price.”
“We are happy to work with anybody. When we do this it will be on a competitive basis.”
Meanwhile, in conjunction with the revived interest in the technology the UK CCUS Council has been formed as part of the UK bid to meet Paris Climate Change targets.
Led by Minister Perry, the Council will work with a select group of industry representatives to review the progress and priorities of the Strategy in relation to CCUS. Through the CCUS Council, the UK Government will also monitor costs and deployment potential with the option of revising the CCUS deployment path to meet changing political and policy approaches.
Council member and Global CCS Institute CEO, Brad Page said, “CCUS represents a new energy direction which can deliver jobs, energy security and new economies the likes of which have never been seen before. Commitment, investment and multi-party collaboration are crucial to creating this fundamental step-change.”
The Clean Growth Strategy sets out a plan for how the UK can meet legally binding targets to reduce carbon emissions by 57 per cent from 1990 levels by 2032. It identifies CCUS as a vital area of strategic importance, highlighting its potential to support decarbonisation and maximise opportunities across the whole UK economy.