UK releases Clean Growth Strategy restarting CCS plans

Oct 13 2017

Measures include funding for R&D and international collaboration, marking a fresh approach and reaffirmed commitment to CCUS in the UK.

The UK Government has released its long anticipated Clean Growth Strategy which sets out how the UK can meet its climate goals while benefiting from low carbon technologies. It includes several measures for CCUS, specifically:

  • Up to £20 million in a Carbon Capture and Utilisation demonstration programme plus up to £100m for industry collaborations
  • A new CCUS Council to look at the option of deploying CCUS at scale in power and industry
  • A CCUS Cost Challenge Taskforce to deliver a plan to reduce the cost of deploying CCUS, with the ambition to deploy at scale from 2030 if costs come down
  • Lead an international working group and organise a Global Carbon Capture Usage and Storage Conference in 2018 with international partners

The plan was widely welcomed as a new approach to CCUS in the UK, but needs more detail on how the strategy will be delivered, and a clear indication as to whether the UK is going to take a lead in implementing CCUS globally.

Comments on the announcement

Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) CEO Jonathan Wills

We welcome the inclusion today of a new pathway for CCS development in the UK. This is a cornerstone for the lowest cost energy system transition, providing resilience and robustness to other choices. With our natural resources as an island providing ample CO2 storage capacity, CCS is an opportunity we shouldn’t ignore. 

CCS is an enabling technology with implications and benefits that can stretch across the whole energy system. Its multiple functions present an economic prize, combining not only the storage of generated carbon emissions from power generation and industry, but also enhancing system flexibility - for example in the clean generation of hydrogen. It may be possible to meet the climate targets without CCS, but it will make it more expensive for the country to do so – potentially doubling the cost and closing down options that could be more attractive to consumers than others.

Driving down the costs of capture technologies is an important goal, but First of a Kind at scale projects are needed to reduce investor risks. Crucially, these large scale projects are needed to prove and establish CO2 stores and develop infrastructure – these are essential to building momentum to allow CCSfor power, hydrogen and for heavy industry.

Luke Warren, Chief Executive of the CCSA

“The CCSA welcomes the release of the Clean Growth Strategy and the recognition of both the critical role of CCS to reducing CO2 emissions and the clean growth opportunity this offers to the UK industrial strategy.

However, delivering a strategy requires action and there is a lack of detail on how these ambitions will be delivered. Government and industry must now work together to define the steps required to deliver CCS and make meaningful progress on these this parliament if the UK is be a leader in this field.  

We have recently seen impressive drops in the cost of other low-carbon technologies. This shows the power of Government and industry collaboration to drive large-scale deployment and cost-reduction. We now need Government to get behind CCS in the same way and the CCSA looks forward to working with the Government to support delivery of this transformational technology.”


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. The plan includes the establishment of a number of new bodies such as the Ministerial-led CCUS Council and the CCUS Cost Challenge Task Force as well as a commitment to developing a deployment pathway for CCUS in 2018 which will define the steps needed to deliver 2030 deployment at scale. As such, the UKCCSRC looks forward to working with other stakeholder groups on the details of how this can come into fruition.

The release of the Clean Growth Strategy comes soon after Claire Perry, Minister for Climate Change and Industry, told the Conservative Party conference that CCS is a “vital technology”.

“It has long been acknowledged, by organisations such as the Committee on Climate Change, that CCS is an essential technology if the Government is to be successful in meeting its carbon reduction targets, so I am pleased to see that CCS is on the agenda.” said Jon Gibbins, Director, UKCCSRC.

In line with the Clean Growth Strategy, the UKCCSRC will continue to build on its already established research programme that includes industrial CCS, zero carbon hydrogen production and the strategic development of a carbon dioxide transport and storage infrastructure as well as decarbonisation of the power sector.

The UK Energy Research Council (UKERC)

The partial reprieve for carbon capture and storage (CCS), which has not featured in policy strategy at all over the last two years are welcome,  but risk keeping this technology in a holding pattern. The Strategy is right to emphasise the need for CCS on industry as a priority. But the deployment of CCS is in trouble globally. The question for the UK to answer in the coming months is whether we are going to take the lead, especially given the stalled progress world-wide. Relying on others may not be enough. The lesson from the offshore wind success story is clear: the UK and other countries need to implement a policy framework that allows deployment to be financed, and not just more R.D&D funding.

Clean Growth Strategy

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CCS in Australia - CS-Cap: Development of an SO2 tolerant post combustion CO2 capture process .. CSIRO pilot plant demo of aqueous ammonia CO2 capture How OGCI is trying to enable a commercial CCUS industry .. NET Power project achieves first fire .....

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