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IEA CCC criticises UK government energy plan

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World Coal,

With only a passing reference to carbon capture and storage (CCS) in UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd’s recent speech laying out the UK’s energy development plan for the next decade, the UK’s CCS industry risks falling into irrelevance, according to the IEA Clean Coal Centre (IEA CCC).

“At one time the UK was a leader in the development of CCS,” said the centre in a press release. “We know the government has recently given its support for CCS projects, such as £4.2 million for research and feasibility work for a proposed 570 MW CCS coal-gasification power station in Grangemouth, Scotland, awarded in March this year. However, it will certainly be hard to promote and sell the technology abroad if there is no commercial deployment in the UK.”

Instead, the IEA CCC argues that the construction of CCS demonstration plants should proceed promptly, pointing out that, when combined with ultra-supercritical technology, CCS-equipped coal-fired power plants have lower emissions than unabated gas-fired plants.

“Building unabated gas-fired power stations locks the UK in to substantial emissions from fossil fuels for possibly the next 40 yr,” continued the IEA CCC. “The IEA CCC published a report this year comparing the greenhouse impact of coal and gas. It found that, if the rate of methane leakage is more than 3% during the upstream sourcing and processing of natural gas, then the climatic benefit of substituting gas for coal is negated.

As an example of the potential CCS coule play in helping the UK meet its climate targets, the IEA CCC highlighted the White Rose CCS project in Yorkshire as having the potential to not only provide very-low CO2 emitting coal-fired power but also acting as a CCS hub, allowing neighbouring industries to also capture a store their CO2 via that White Rose pipeline.

The IEA CCC also noted the lack of any mention of biomass in the minister’s speech. Biomass can have “a significant impact on CO2 emissions when co-fired with coal,” the IEA CCC said. “The conversions at Drax have cut emissions of CO2 by 12 million t/yr for example. Biomass also has the advantage over other renewables in that it is not intermittent and can use the massive grid infrastructure that is already in place for coal-fired power plants.”

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