ETI report shows UK can build 10 GW of CCS by 2030

Mar 17 2015

A new Energy Technologies Institute report shows that Building a 10 GW scale Carbon Capture and Storage sector by 2030 in the UK is feasible and affordable.

By developing co-ordinated clusters and storage hubs, the sector could be capturing around 50 million tonnes of CO2 in 2030 from power stations and industry.

The report shows that the UK has an opportunity to build a CCS sector capable of reducing the costs of meeting its carbon targets, by exploiting the UK’s unique offshore engineering capabilities, safeguarding the future of key energy-intensive industries.

Written in partnership with Element Energy and Poyry - “Building the UK Carbon Capture and Storage Sector by 2030 – Scenarios and Actions” identifies the practical steps needed over the period to 2030 to build an effective CCS sector.

It suggests three possible scenarios that would allow CCS to realise its long term potential and play a key role in decarbonising the UK’s energy sector with the development of around 10 GW of capacity by 2030.

Key conclusions from the report include:

- Developing a 10 GW scale CCS sector by 2030 is feasible and affordable through a number of different pathways, if co-ordinated clusters are developed.

- This scale of CCS deployment could capture and store around 50 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year from power and industry by 2030, enabling CCS to develop in the 2030s to the optimal scale suggested by longer term analysis of the UK energy system.

- Infrastructure is key to future development. Enabling projects to use the pipes and storage sites developed by the first two projects supported by the Department of Energy and Climate Change will help reduce costs and increase strategic build out options

- Any delay to CCS roll-out increases costs through the need to deploy higher cost technologies to cut emissions and failing to deploy CCS at all could double the annual cost of carbon abatementby 2050

George Day, the ETI’s Head of Economic Strategy and the report’s author, said:

“Our analysis of the UK’s future energy system has consistently highlighted the importance of CCS  in helping the UK meet carbon targets effectively and affordably. Developing CCS can also build on the country’s existing offshore engineering capabilities and safeguard the future of key energy-intensive industrial clusters and thousands of jobs.

“Apart from its role in power generation, CCS can capture industrial emissions at low cost, provide flexible low carbon energy for industry, transport and heat through gasification and deliver high value negative emissions when combined with bioenergy.

“The scenarios are not recommendations – but we believe all three show that it is feasible and affordable for the UK to develop around 10GW of CCS capacity by 2030.

“This work shows the importance of moving quickly to develop a pipeline of projects for investment throughout the 2020s following on from the first two government-supported projects. We need stronger policy and market signals to resolve uncertainties for investors, and early investment to appraise new storage sites for CO2 below the North Sea.”

As well as identifying possible scenarios and actions needed to meet the 2030 ambition, the report also highlights the consequences of delaying development of this level of capacity beyond 2030 which would expose the UK to substantial cost and deployment risks in meeting carbon budgets.

Last month the ETI published an Insight report, "Targets, Technologies, Infrastructure and Investments – Preparing the UK for the Energy Transition" which concluded that the UK can implement an affordable transition to a low carbon energy system over the next 35 years by developing, commercialising and integrating technologies and solutions that are already known, but underdeveloped.  It highlighted the underlying enormous potential and value in CCS and bioenergy in delivering a low carbon future.

It also warned that decisions taken in the next decade are critical in preparing for the transition and crucial decisions must be made about the design of the UK future energy system by 2025 to avoid wasting investment and ensure the 2050 targets remain achievable.

Luke Warren, Chief Executive of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association welcomed the findings of the report.

“This is a crucial year for CCS: The current Competition to develop the UK's first CCS projects – the White Rose project at the Drax site in Yorkshire and the Peterhead Gas CCS project in Scotland – is progressing with detailed engineering work, and final investment decisions are expected around the end of this year," he said.

"But if the UK is to benefit from commercial CCS then, as today’s report finds, it is essential that the next Government successfully concludes the current Competition and delivers both projects. These projects will form the foundations upon which the UK builds a successful CCS industry."

"The report also highlights the importance of avoiding delay in the development of CCS; which would otherwise expose the UK to substantial costs and deployment risks in meeting carbon budgets."

"The UK is world-leading in developing an enduring policy framework to support CCS alongside renewables and nuclear under the Electricity Market Reform programme. What is now needed is for the Government to use policy to actually deliver a steady roll-out of CCS projects, which will enable CCS to become cost-competitive with other low-carbon technologies.  Around the world many of our competitor economies are advancing this technology; we must not be left behind"

View the report

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