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Carbon capture effort vital for industrial emitters

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) development in the medium and long term is vital to efforts to offset energy emissions from heavy industry, Europe’s energy commissioner said last week.

“In the medium to long term we need CCS, not just for power but for all industrial actions, European energy commissioner Günther Oettinger told NCE.

Speaking at the Mipim property fair in Cannes, Oettinger said that while 2020 energy targets - to cut carbon emissions by 20% against 1990 levels - remained challenging, he believed they would be achieved.

But he said that there was now a need to recognise the potential benefits of CCS across Europe, particularly in ambitions set out in the European Commission’s road map for 2050.

This says that by then the European Union should cut its emissions to 80% of 1990 levels through domestic reductions alone.

Some member states he said were “interested” and that France, the UK, Poland and the Netherlands had the “most advanced and most competent” CCS technology.

Oettinger said that 2020 targets would be achieved but he stressed that there were ongoing challenges to ensure Europe’s energy infrastructure was coherent.

He named states such as Denmark, Sweden and Austria for being in the lead on infrastructure and named the Baltic states for being well engaged in integrating their activities.

“We are Europeanising our infrastructure across our member states but it’s an ongoing challenge,” said Oettinger said.

“Energy prices are becoming more of an issue, particularly for certain member states such as Bulgaria and Spain.

 “It is important to have a European strategy, people will realise that a European market is a smarter and cheaper way to generate energy.”

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