The government has warned that it may not take investment decisions on two pilot carbon capture and storage (CCS) schemes until 2016 – despite pleas for earlier action.
The cross-party House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee said in May that the government should finish funding negotiations for the critical projects by early next year.
But an official response by the government today said this timetable was “unrealistic”.
The government said front end engineering design (FEED) studies on the schemes, in Peterhead and Drax, were likely to take until the end of next year.
“Until FEED is complete, projects carry unacceptable and/or unquantifiable levels of risk for either government or the developers to take a decision to invest,” it added.
The government’s defiant response will come as a blow to the MPs, environmentalists and energy firms that had called for development of CCS technology to be sped up.
Energy Technologies Institute programme manager Andrew Green said earlier this year that making CCS work was vital for meeting carbon targets affordably.
“Our own research has found that the cost of meeting the UK’s low carbon targets could double to £60bn a year by 2050 at today’s prices without the use of CCS,” he said in May.