Going Underground

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Posted by on in General
The Three Why's

During the summer holidays, whilst Parliament was in recess, things have actually been quite busy in the world of CCS.

On the 8th September, the CCSA hosted a CCS Knowledge Transfer Workshop – to allow CCS project developers to engage with representatives of the two projects in the cancelled CCS Competition. The workshop was framed around the 90 Key Knowledge Deliverables (KKD’s) from the Competition projects – a requirement under the terms of the competition – which have now been published in full on the UK Government website. Together with our Lessons Learned report, which we blogged about in July, we should now have a good understanding of how to move forward with CCS projects and what to avoid.

Speaking of moving forward, let’s draw a line under the Competition and look to the future. We need a simple CCS story that answers three basic questions; Why CCS? Why UK? And Why Now?

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Time to Break the Chain

Since the Spending Review decision to cancel the CCS Competition, the UK Government and industry have been working hard behind the scenes to think about a new approach for CCS. Then Brexit happened. Whatever else one might surmise about the impact of this result, one thing is certain – there is likely to be a long period of upheaval and uncertainty as the UK attempts to unhinge itself from Brussels.

In some ways, this actually presents an opportunity to reinforce and reposition climate change arguments and the importance of CCS. There are positive signs that the UK is not backing down on its commitments – only last week (30th June), the Government announced that the UK will legislate for a 57% emissions reductions target for the fifth carbon budget (covering the period 2028-2032) in line with the advice of the Committee on Climate Change.

Political turmoil or not, the UK remains a signatory to the Paris Agreement and the goal of limiting the global temperature increase to well below 2°C. Meeting this goal will require serious action from all countries around the world and the UK must play its part. On the 29th June, the CCSA held an important joint workshop with the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) on “CCS Post-Paris: Realising Global Ambitions”. At this workshop, one presenter pointed to the importance of CCS in enabling countries to have “options” available by which the aim of the Paris Agreement can be met. The point was made that because CCS is essential to decarbonising industrial sectors (such as steel, cement, refining etc) as well as power, has a role to play in decarbonising heat and is the best option for producing zero-carbon hydrogen as a fuel – countries will find it exceedingly difficult to meet the Paris Agreement if CCS is not available. Furthermore, the contribution that bioenergy with CCS (bioCCS or BECCS) could make is enormous as it actually enables emissions to be removed from the atmosphere. Imagine the massive benefit this could have, particularly in terms of offsetting hard-to-decarbonise sectors such as aviation.

The big question we are now faced with in the UK (aside from the Brexit fallout of course!) is: how to get CCS on track?

Guest blog from Indira Mann, Communications & Knowledge Exchange Executive, SCCS

The last few days have brought yet another body blow to the UK’s steel industry as it struggles to remain viable within a changeable global market. This marketplace, for industry in general, will also begin to feel the impact of a rising carbon price and a client base that is demanding more sustainable products. Could this shift in emphasis provide light at the end of the tunnel for the UK’s industrial sector and can it rise to the carbon challenge?

A cross-party group of parliamentarians and external stakeholders met at Westminster last week to discuss UK industry’s vision for tackling its emissions through carbon capture and storage (CCS). This range of technologies provides the means of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from industrial facilities and power plants for storage in suitable geological sites deep underground.

On the same day we released our report, Achieving a low-carbon society: CCS expertise and opportunity in the UK. Our aim was to highlight the UK’s unique and enviable set of assets, which can deliver a CCS industry, allowing us to meet crucial emissions targets cost-effectively – in line with the international climate agreement reached in Paris – while supporting industry and powering the economy.

Posted by on in General

In November last year I blogged – rather emotively I might add – about the decision of the UK Government to withdraw funding for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the 2015 Spending Review.

The decision came as a shock, not least because it called into question UK commitment to climate change and added to growing concerns around the confidence of project developers and financiers to invest in UK low carbon infrastructure.

If we needed any further evidence that the implications of the decision were profound, then that evidence came today in the form of a letter from the Committee on Climate Change to Secretary of State Amber Rudd.

Set in the context of the Committee’s advice on the 5th Carbon Budget and the recent global climate agreement at COP 21, the Committee reiterates much of the evidence it published in 2015 around CCS cost reduction pathways. Once again the Committee confirms that the costs of achieving UK emissions reduction targets for 2050 would likely double if CCS is not developed at the pace and scale it suggests is necessary.

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It is the day after the darkest day for CCS in UK history, and the CCSA and its members are still in shock.

The same words keep repeating themselves; devastated, sad, bewildered. The question; Why? And why now? Amazingly, a day later and the silence from Government is deafening. Only the two-line statement to the London Stock Exchange can be found.

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Capturing Knowledge for Meaningful Action

Guest blog from Indira Mann, Communications & Knowledge Exchange Executive, SCCS

 

It could well be the turning point our planet needs, but the Paris climate talks at the end of this month will struggle to achieve their stated intention – a meaningful climate change agreement by world leaders – unless more than five nations include or even consider Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) as part of a concerted approach to tackling carbon emissions.

The importance of CCS as a means of arresting global warming cannot be downplayed. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change itself has stated that, without its large-scale deployment, the world will fail to keep a global temperature increase to within 2°C. A recent report by the Global CCS Institute lists 22 large-scale CCS projects, either already operating or getting very close, which prove to a stubbornly sceptical world that the technology works and can be deployed by many more countries right now. And if cost is still a perceived barrier, analysis by the International Energy Agency suggests that CCS will actually reduce decarbonisation costs further down the road.

So if we are serious about averting dangerous climate change and the technology exists, what might governments, regulators and potential project developers still need? Two high-level joint industry projects, led by the SCCS research partnership with support from industry and government, sought to provide some of the answers. Here are a few of our findings.

Posted by on in General

(Reproduced from the November 2015 issue of Adjacent Government)

Judith Shapiro, Policy and Communications Manager at The Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) asks whether the government will consider CCS in the 2015 Energy Bill…

When this publication last looked at CCS, the new Conservative majority government had just been elected. In the months since this government has been in power, changes have taken place in some industries, whereas in others – things remain the same. For CCS, we are drawing ever closer to the decision point for the projects in the competition – the first key date to watch out for is the 25th of November, when the Chancellor will publish the Spending Review 2015. In this Spending Review, all government spending will be scrutinised, which means the £1bn allocated to the CCS competition could be in danger. So all efforts are focussed on making sure the government retains this £1bn which will be essential to ensuring that both CCS competition projects can be built.

Posted by on in General

There have been a few interesting articles on CCS recently; firstly the Telegraph article “Lucky Britain to win 21st century jackpot from carbon capture”, 2nd September and yesterday the FT article “Carbon capture: Miracle machine or white elephant?”, 9th September. 

Whilst it is obviously great that CCS is gaining increasing attention in the media, we need to look at the messages that these articles leave behind.

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Delivering CCS

Welcome to the new blog of the CCSA; “Going Underground”. In this blog, we hope to give you some insights into the big issues affecting CCS at the moment – in the UK, Europe and internationally.

If you’re here, then you probably already know that CCS is one of the most vital low-carbon technologies in the global fight against climate change. The recent IPCC Fifth Assessment report shows that it is almost impossible to meet the global 2 degrees target without CCS, and that attempting to do so would ramp up the cost of mitigation by a massive 138%! Compare that with scenarios where nuclear is phased out (7% cost increase) or solar and wind have limited roles (6% cost increase) and the importance of CCS becomes glaringly obvious.