The Environment Agency has called for a halt to Government plans to build a new generation of coal-fired power stations, unless these incorporate carbon capture and storage technology (CCS). Chris Smith, the new Chair of the Environment Agency has commented that building coal-fired stations without this capability was “not an environmentally sustainable way of generating power given the challenges we face with climate change”. Simply proving that new coal-fired power plants can be retrofitted with this technology, when developed after several years of the station’s conventional operation, is not adequate.
The world’s first CCS demonstration project was inaugurated in Germany last year – with the capability to store 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. It is unlikely that a commercial-scale demonstration project will be built in the UK until 2013.