Leaked cuts may explain government ‘no’ to Don Valley carbon capture and storage

Despite being the UK’s front-runner to receive funding from the European Union NER competition for carbon capture and storage (CCS) schemes, last autumn 2CO’s Don Valley CCS project didn’t make it to the UK Coalition government’s shortlist for the competition. No-one could understand why – the Don Valley CCS project was far more advanced than any others and had come out top in a parallel European Union assessment of UK CCS schemes.

Mock up of Don Valley Power Project_2CO image

Now Cabinet papers leaked to the Financial Times show that the Coalition government has only allocated £200m of the promised £1bn for the CCS competition. CCS projects bidding for the £1bn had not been told of this shortfall.

This cut to CCS funding may explain why the Coalition government decided not to shortlist the Don Valley CCS scheme – it is ready to go, so the money would definitely need to be in place.

South Yorkshire jobs may be on the line – again

Coalition government cuts to CCS funding jeopardise the development of the UK CCS industry in general, and they also threaten the future of the Hatfield Colliery in South Yorkshire. If 2CO, the company behind the Don Valley CCS project, goes under, this would lose Hatfield Colliery its main certain customer – the proposed Don Valley clean coal power station.

Without the £1bn CCS funding, UK is on track to miss legally-binding carbon emissions reduction target

There are also serious implications for the UK’s carbon budget. In order to reduce carbon emissions, coal-fired and biomass power stations need CCS as long as they continue to be used. Last summer, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) warned that the UK is going to miss its carbon reduction target, unless it manages to reduce emissions by 3% each year. In order to do this, the CCC specified that speedy implementation of the £1bn competition for carbon capture and storage demonstration projects was vital.

Hatfield Colliery_engineerlive website pic

For more info, see the Touchstone blog.

Most people are unconvinced by CCS and prefer investment in renewables

Finn Jensen of Blackshawhead Environmental Action Team and Pennine Community Power  commented,

“Personally, I’m not convinced about CCS. Neither are the vast majority of Europeans who were surveyed recently for a review of EU air policy. 70% of the people surveyed about what energy options the EU should prioritise over the next 30 years said that renewable energy was their first choice.”

The vast majority of Europeans who were surveyed recently for a review of EU air policy had little confidence in CCS.

The survey found that, after renewable energy, the next most favoured energy options were energy efficiency (28%), nuclear energy (18%) and CCS projects (12%). CCS is not the least-favoured option, but it’s close.

Finn Jensen explained,

“CCS could just be an excuse to keep using fossil fuels. Even if it works, the chambers underground will soon be filled up, there are not suitable chambers everywhere where there is a power station and CCS uses up to 30% extra energy to process the carbon emissions. So why not use the £1billion to develop renewable energy?”

 Except the £1bn is now only £200m.

CCS diagram- captured carbon dioxide stored in deep aquifers

Despite lots of promotional hullaboo about shale gas (fracking), only 9% of those surveyed were in favour of fracking, and only 8% in favour of conventional fossil fuels.

72% of respondents said that governments need to do more to improve air quality.

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