E.ON and ScottishPower have won an undisclosed sum to design and develop commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration plants.
The department for energy and climate change (DECC) has awarded the cash to fund engineering and design studies for ongoing projects at Kingsnorth and Longannet.
The studies will take plans up to the detailed design stage over the coming year. Final CCS competition winners will then be selected - the government plans ‘up to four’ demonstration CCS plants to be funded by a climate change ‘levy’, as announced in last year’s budget.
Energy Secretary Ed Miliband said: “These two promising projects are at the forefront of the UK’s efforts to build one of the first commercial-scale clean coal plants in the world.
“The award of design-stage funding demonstrates our commitment to this breakthrough technology. It has the potential to support tens of thousands of jobs and bring billions into the economy.
“CCS is the only technology that tackles carbon emissions from fossil fuel power stations, and given the world’s dependence on coal, is a vital technology to securing the world’s future energy needs and tackling climate change.”
Cash will be used to complete detailed plans and allow developers to accurately cost projects.
ScottishPower’s Chief Executive, Nick Horler said: “The real work of finally making CCS a commercial reality begins today as this funding will now enable ScottishPower to take the technology from concept to design stage. It will tell us exactly what we need to know so that we can quickly build this new and essential technology.
“It also puts the UK back at the head of the pack when it comes to delivering full-scale commercial CCS on a global stage.”
E.ON UK’s Chief Executive Dr Paul Golby, said: “This is excellent news for the development of clean coal in the UK coming as it does hard on the heels of our announcement about our scoping application for the Kingsnorth CO2 pipeline last week.
“It’s absolutely vital that we get CCS right and it’s especially heartening to see that we’re getting some real movement here in the UK now.
“We should always remember that the long game with CCS is not just about Kingsnorth, it’s about a worldwide battle against climate change.”
The funding is drawn from a pot of £90M announced in the 2009 Budget. The precise amounts awarded to E.ON and ScottishPower are commercially confidential.