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North Sea CCS key to low-carbon economy in Europe says new report

World Cement,

Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS) has published a report entitled A CCS Future for Europe: Catalysing North Sea Action, which has found that North Sea nations have the skills and storage capacity to deliver a carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry. According to the report, CCS can provide the least cost transition to a low-carbon future and a reliable electricity supply. The report, which derives from an SCCS meeting of European and international experts, calls for policy support and ‘wider political ambition’ within the EU and outlines a ten-point plan for policy makers. The plan is listed below, along with the report’s key findings.

Report’s key findings

  • CCS needs to be valued by EU and Member State policy makers as a ‘high-leverage’ climate change mitigation technology; it is unique in enabling the decarbonisation of thermal power generation and essential industrial/manufacturing processes.
  • Effective business models are needed to support the development of CO2 transport and storage, in parallel with policy mechanisms that aim to encourage CO2 capture from large emitters. The minimum capture target should be 220 million tpy of CO2 by 2030, with low-carbon CCS electricity tariffs.
  • For CCS to deliver at least cost it needs to be undertaken at large scale, with clusters of carbon emitters sharing CO2 transport and CO2 storage infrastructure.
  • CCS ‘insurance’ against carbon pricing is essential to the survival of multiple industrial sectors across the EU. CCS secures industrial output and millions of jobs as well as enhancing energy security and providing back up to intermittent renewable energy.
  • 2-Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2-EOR) offers a profitable route for the UK and Norway to diversify offshore employment and solve infrastructure blockages for CCS. It also incentivises CO2 capture from diverse sources. If regulated properly, the carbon storage benefits of CO2-EOR easily outweigh perceived negatives of extra carbon production.

Ten-point plan for EU and Member State policy makers

  • Rapidly deliver a renewed New Entrants Reserve financing instrument (NER400) of the EU’s Emissions Trading System to support new industrial and power generation CCS projects.
  • Support the creation of CO2 transport and storage infrastructure through the EU’s Projects of Common Interest, including pipeline construction and CO2 shipping.
  • Create capture-to-storage CCS cluster plans for Europe’s industrial regions.
  • Provide specific funding, through the EU or Member States, to construct regional carbon capture clusters.
  • CO2 transport and storage with clear pricing mechanisms.
  • Undertake analyses to identify tariff incentive mechanisms for CCS.
  • Develop a CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery plan for the North Sea.
  • Encourage the research community to take lead on defining future research and development needs for cost reduction with strategic industry input.
  • Ensure research and development priorities are informed by industry needs, with feedback from demonstration projects being developed worldwide.
  • Support existing CCS networks and bodies and their work to exchange information between industry and academia; government and regulators; and financiers and insurers.

“Europe faces tough targets to reduce carbon emissions by 2030. As the EU considers policy options to drive CCS deployment in line with 2030 climate and energy objectives, it is essential that this starts with CO2 storage. Earlier this week, a review of the CCS Directive recommended a Europe-wide target of 220 million tonnes a year for CCS deployment by 2030 due to the ‘genuine and urgent need for CCS in Europe’. Our new report strongly supports this finding and shows how the North Sea region can accelerate delivery of CCS across many nations. We specify actions to deliver essential infrastructure, and pinpoint incentives to support CO2 transport and storage as well as develop cost-effective CCS clusters in regions across Europe. Now is the time to transfer skills from a challenged oil industry to revolutionise carbon storage,” said Professor Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS Director.

“Our report also suggests lessons that Europe could learn from developments in North America, where a 2 pipelines infrastructure and the use of CO2 in enhanced oil recovery – as a profitable business model which also stores carbon – is driving the delivery of CCS for both industrial clusters and power generation. If Europe wants to remain a leader in tackling climate change, and maximise the contribution of its science and industry expertise to international action, then it must overcome the business barriers to CCS deployment,” added Professor Haszeldine.

Read the full report here.

Adapted from press release by

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