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The end of the road for CCS in the UK?

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World Coal,

The future of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the UK faced an uncertain future after the government withdrew funding for the UK’s CCS Competition.

In an announcement to the London Stock Exchange, the government said: “following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, HM Government confirms that the £1 billion ring-fenced capital budget for the Carbon Capture and Storage Competition is no longer available.” As a result the competition “cannot proceed on its current basis”.

The announcement comes just 6 months before it was due to be awarded and breaks a pledge made as part of the Conservative party’s election campaign earlier this year.

Two projects had been in the running to receive funding: one backed by Shell and utility SSE would have seen CCS added to a gas-fired power plant at Peterhead, while the Whiterose project was based at the Drax coal-fired power plant – although Drax had announced it was stopping investment in the project in September.

“The UK government's decision is a blow not only to the CCS industry in the UK but also to global efforts to meet the 2° target,” said World Coal Association CEO, Benjamin Sporton. “Not only is the UK missing an opportunity to play a leadership role in the development of CCS technology, it will also be missing out on the huge benefits of exporting CCS technology worldwide.”

Meanwhile the Dr Luke Warren, CEO of the UK’s Carbon Capture and Storage Association called the decision “devastating” and an “appalling way to do business.”

A number of experts have also highlighted the difficulty in achieving the UK’s climate change commitments without CCS.

“The government has outlined plans for the winding-down of coal-fired generation. With just one nuclear reactor currently being planned, the UK looks set to experience a new dash for gas. Without CCS technology, this will mean we are locking ourselves into relying on unabated fossil fuel power for generations to come,” said Dr Jenifer Baxter, Head of Energy and Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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