CCS 'can compete with other low-carbon generation'

2 min read

UK gas and coal power stations equipped with carbon capture, transport and storage have the potential to be cost competitive with other forms of low-carbon power generation.

This is one of the conclusions of a report published yesterday that suggests CCS could help deliver electricity at a cost approaching £100/MWh by the early 2020s, and at a cost significantly below £100/MWh soon after.

The industry-led CCS Cost Reduction Taskforce’s (CRTF) final report, The potential for reducing the costs of CCS in the UK says that the availability of geological storage beneath the UK continental shelf, and the UK’s offshore oil and gas expertise means that CCS represents a real opportunity for economic growth.

This would be achieved by retaining and growing employment opportunities, protecting and growing the UK’s manufacturing base and gaining competitive advantages in manufacturing costs over other countries in Europe.

The report cautions, however, that a number of key actions that must be taken by both government and industry to make this a reality. These are also required to enable the widespread application of CCS to industrial sectors, such as steel, cement or chemicals production, which will remain dependent on fossil fuels.

Taskforce members Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS), a research partnership between the British Geological Survey, Heriot-Watt University, and Edinburgh University, says it supports the finding that a longer term vision for CCS in the UK must exist beyond the two demonstration projects currently continuing in the UK’s CCS Commercialisation Programme.

SCCS added that Britain will only be able to secure cost reductions and market development if there is greater clarity as to how additional projects will be supported for electricity generation and industrial sectors.

Echoing these sentiments, David Clarke CEO of the Energy Technologies Institute said, ‘There is still a long way to go to de-risk CCS – storage identification, capture technology development and demonstration, establishing market and investor confidence…but this report sets out some clear guidance on how CCS can evolve and become an important contributor to a low carbon economy in the UK.’

Building on the report’s findings The Crown Estate, which holds the rights to offshore CO2 storage capacity around the UK, says it will establish a new UK CO2 Storage Development Group, which will aim to assist delivery of proven storage sites that are commercially and technically viable.

Seven key next steps to support the large scale development of power and industrial CCS in the UK:

  • Ensure optimal UK CCS transport and storage network configuration
  • Incentivise CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) to limit emissions and maximise UK hydrocarbon production
  • Ensure funding mechanisms are fit-for-purpose
  • Create bankable contracts
  • Create a vision for development of CCS Projects in the UK from follow-on projects through to widespread adoption
  • Promote characterisation of CO2 storage locations to create maximum benefit from the UK storage resource
  • Create policy and financing regimes for CCS from industrial CO2