UK Government Announces £1bn to Support Carbon Capture and Storage

A new £1 billion competition has been announced by the UK Government to support the development of industrial scale Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology. So far CCS has been developed on small scales but no commercial scale test of the technology has ever been undertaken.

The Government’s previous attempt to incentivise the development of commercial-scale CCS collapsed in October 2011 following the withdrawal of all nine companies participating in the scheme, citing concerns over the financial viability of the programme.

Changes have now been made, meaning that the competition announced today will accept applications from schemes that trap carbon dioxide pre-combustion, as well as post-combustion, and will also be open to both gas as well as coal fired power plants.

One or more demonstration plants will be funded and it is anticipated that the selected projects will be up and running by 2016 – 2020. By the end of the 2020’s the Government expects 12 – 20 new plants to be fitted with the technology.

Alongside the £1 billion fund, Ministers have also announced £125 million to support research and development of CCS, including a new £13m CCS Research Centre; a virtual network coordinated by the University of Edinburgh. Ministers will also announce shortly the details of how the technology can be supported in the long-term. One approach that the Government favours is believed to be to encourage ‘clusters’ of power plants to develop, with these then supporting each other and sharing best practice in the development and utilisation of CCS.

Original articles:
Fiona Harvey, the Guardian, 3 April 2012 – New push for carbon capture and storage with £1 bn competitionDavid Shukman, BBC, 3 April 2012 – New UK attempt to capture carbon