The European Commission yesterday proposed spending £3.2bn on energy projects to beat the recession, with £1.1bn earmarked to kickstart carbon capture and storage (CCS) across five countries, including the UK.
Under the Commission's stimulus plan, an additional £1.6bn would be spent to improve gas and electricity interconnections between EU member states, and £137M would go towards developing an offshore wind grid in the North Sea to link Britain, Holland, Germany, Ireland and Denmark.
The CCS funding would see £229M go to the UK to develop a demonstration project, with four coal-fired power plants – the new Kingsnorth plant in Kent, Longannet in Fife, Tilbury in Essex and Hatfield in Yorkshire – vying to host the technology on their sites.
The announcement was welcomed by business lobby group CBI, and it urged the Government to push ahead with its competition for a demonstration CCS project, currently managed by consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff.
"Today’s announcements are a helpful step on the road to a low carbon economy, and should help the UK take a lead in the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology," said CBI director of environment policy Neil Bentley.
"The British Government must now show real urgency and vision to ensure UK CCS demonstration plants can be up and running as soon as possible."
Funding for the North Sea offshore grid, meanwhile, came as part of a £459M wind power funding package to invest in research and emerging technologies that would strengthen European nations' standings as world leaders in wind power.