Delaying commercial scale deployment of CCUS increases risk and the costs of a UK energy transition

Nov 29 2018

A report from the Energy Technologies Institute supports extensive research that has consistently demonstrated that Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) deployment is a key component in minimising costs in the transition to a low carbon energy system

The report supports the analysis that if CCUS is not deployed by 2030 carbon abatement costs in the UK will rise to circa £1 billion a year – and could double before 2050. 

The report suggests that gas power stations with CCUS fitted could provide anchor loads for CO2 pipelines and stores that serve emerging CCUS clusters, unlocking a pathway for CCUS to cut emissions in industry and support hydrogen production.

If Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) is not deployed over the next decade, the UK’s transition to a low carbon energy system will face increased risk and higher costs says a new report released today by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).

‘Still in the mix? Understanding the role of Carbon Capture Usage and Storage’, was written by the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) for the ETI, and takes into account recent cost reductions in renewables and the latest ETImodelling on CCUS costs. The report reaffirms previous ETI work on the importance of CCUS deployment by 2030, without which carbon abatement costs will increase by circa £1billion a year. The research also cements ETI analysis that if CCUS is not developed at all before 2050, the ‘national bill’ for low carbon energy that year would be circa £35bn higher – equivalent to circa 1% of expected GDP.

The report highlights gas power with CCUS (up to 3GW) as an effective low carbon electricity option that can be deployed cost-effectively before 2030 within an electricity generation mix that meets the 5th carbon budget. The report concludes that early investment in gas power CCUS in favourable locations for a CCUS industrial cluster represents the most straightforward, deliverable and best value approach to early deployment of the technology.

The ETI has spent 10 years carrying out extensive research on the deployment of CCUS and for this report commissioned analysis from Baringa Partners and Frontier Economics. Baringa explored cost optimal pathways for decarbonising electricity out to 2050 with a focus on the pre-2030s. Frontier Economics produced illustrative analysis against a baseline scenario informed by the assumptions constructed by Baringa’s work.

"We believe that CCUS retains a key role as part of a least cost portfolio of low carbon technologies for the UK and will increase the options for decarbonised electricity, reducing deployment risks for other technologies," said Andrew Haslett, Chief Engineer

Download the report

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