CCUS scale-up could create 10,000 UK jobs this decade

Jul 08 2021


If the UK Climate Change Committee’s 2030 CO2 capture target is delivered, 10,000 new green jobs could be created in industrial heartlands by the middle of this decade.

The Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) has published a report written by international engineering consultancy Afry and Cambridge Econometrics on the economic impact of scaling up CCUS in the 2020s. It also looks at the funding required to deliver this and the lessons that can be learned from offshore wind deployment in the 2010s.

It explores the impact of rolling out CCUS in the 2020s under two scenarios:

  1. The Government’s Ten Point Plan scenario to capture 10 million tonnes (Mt) of CO2 a year by 2030, before scaling up in the 2030s; and
  2. The Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) Balanced Net Zero Pathway in the Sixth Carbon Budget to capture 22 Mt of CO2 a year by 2030, before more than tripling capacity in the 2030s.

Using Cambridge Econometrics’ E3ME model, the report looks at the economic benefits of CCUS deployment in the 2020s. The CCC scenario could see up to ten thousand new jobs created in the mid-2020s in the UK’s industrial heartlands and give the UK early mover advantage in the global CCUS race, creating export opportunities and with this, a potential 50,000 additional jobs. This level of deployment would also help to safeguard more than 50,000 jobs in iron, steel, cement, chemicals and refining – that could otherwise be at risk.

The report also maps out the annual funding requirements to deploy CCUS at the necessary scale to deliver these two scenarios by 2030 – which ranges from £1.2bn under the Ten Point Plan scenario to £2.6bn under the CCC scenario.

The renewable power sector, and in particular offshore wind, benefited in the early 2010s from long term annual funding envelopes known as the Levy Control Framework, which is set at £8.6bn for 2020/21. This long term certainty drove deployment and cost reductions in the 2010s, so there is precedent for decarbonisation spending at this level to successfully develop new industries that will be crucial for the net zero transition.

Ahead of the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review, the report also considers what lessons can be learned from offshore wind support ten years ago in order to build a similarly successful CCUS industry in the UK today. It concludes that there is an immediate need to de-risk CCUS today, which requires visibility of a long term funding framework up to 2030 to deliver CO2 capture targets. This needs to provide an equivalent to the Levy Control Framework which provided both funding visibility and consumer protection for renewables a decade ago.

Commenting on the report, Olivia Powis, CCSA’s Head of UK Office, said, All 2030 net zero scenarios clearly show that CCUS needs to significantly scale up in the 2020s. To do that, the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review should introduce a long-term funding mechanism for CCUS, just like the Government successfully did ten years ago for the renewable power sector through the Levy Control Framework. The offshore wind boom we've seen since then has been one of the UK’s biggest green success stories. With similar levels of ambition and foresight today, the current Government could ensure we become a world leader in another green industry this decade, an industry that again plays to our geographical and industrial strengths. By implementing the recommendations in today’s report, the UK can demonstrate to the world its commitment to delivering net zero, ahead of hosting COP26 later this year”.

Executive Summary
Carbon Capture and Storage Association


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