The Government says a drive to encourage carbon capture and storage (CCS) could create 100,000 jobs and deliver a multibillion-pound boost to the economy.
The CCS sector has the potential to generate £6.5bn a year, energy secretary Ed Miliband claimed as he announced the new strategy.
Revealing that Yorkshire and Humber has been chosen as the UK’s first low-carbon economic area for CCS, he said it was a “massive industrial growth opportunity”.
The region was picked because it combines the UK’s largest cluster of industrial CO2 emitters, academic expertise and proximity to potential storage sites.
“We have a strong, established and skilled workforce in precisely the sectors needed to get CCS deployed at scale.”
Ed Miliband, energy secretary
It is hoped the area will benefit from the investment and resulting expansion in the CO2 storage industry. Announcing the new plan, Miliband said: “CCS presents a massive growth opportunity for the UK.
“We have a strong, established and skilled workforce in precisely the sectors needed to get CCS deployed at scale.
“And we have some of the best potential sites in Europe for CO2 storage under the North Sea.”
|He added: “For the UK economy as a whole these benefits could be worth up to £6.5bn a year, sustaining jobs for up to 100,000 people, by 2030.”
The launch of the strategy comes after two power companies were awarded funding to develop designs for power plants with CCS technology. E.ON and ScottishPower are competing for Government backing to build the UK’s first CCS coal-fired power plant at either Kingsnorth, Kent or Longannet, Clackmannanshire, Scotland.
The undisclosed amount of funding for each company, which is drawn from a £90M pot, will support detailed engineering and design work for the projects over the next year. After that, the Government will announce the winner of the competition.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has said four coal-fired power stations which demonstrate commercial-scale CCS on a section of the plant will be built, including the winner of the competition.
The development of the CCS plants will potentially be funded by a fossil fuel levy on energy companies.
The Government has pledged no new coal-fired power stations will get the go-ahead without the technology, which could potentially reduce emissions by up to 90%.