New funding initiatives tipped to help Europe become world carbon capture and storage leader

By David Hewitt - 10 Nov 2010 17:24:0 GMT
Funding to help European carbon capture and storage

The British government's proposed £9 billion carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration fund is to be opened up to owners of gas-fired power stations, and not just to coal-fuelled plants, as had previously been announced.

Despite the ongoing rhetoric projecting Britain as a potential world leader in the field of green energy, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne has acknowledged that the country looks set to remain reliant upon gas for years to come.

As such, the Department of Energy and Climate Change has decided to act on the recommendations laid out in the June report from the Climate Change Committee, with as much as £9.5 billion to be made available through three separate CCS competition projects over the next 15 years, on top of the £1 billion already pledged for the first commercial stage demonstration project.

Outlining the plans, Mr Huhne explained that this push represents the UK government "reasserting its mission to lead the world on CCS".

"We are determined to ensure the UK continues to be at the forefront of CCS development - and this sets us on course to lead the world in the development of CCS on gas as well as coal," he said.

At the same time, however, the minister acknowledged that making a significant dent into the level of carbon emissions produced by gas-fired power plants will not happen 'overnight', and was even at pains to stress that his department will not be imposing the same emission constraints on them as have already been announced for coal-fired plants.

Such high hopes of leading the world in the field of CCS are not merely confined to London.

In Brussels, the European Union's Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has announced the opening of the first tranche of £3.4 billion worth of green energy funding, to be made available with the aim of helping the bloc as a whole make use of the technology to help realise the goal of cutting overall carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 when compared to 1990 levels.

Initially given the green light back in February, the NER300 funding will see the EU fund up to 50 per cent of the construction and operational costs of as many as 34 CCS and renewable energy projects, with at least one to be completed in each member state between now and 2015.

By boosting green energy production capacity across the EU by at least 250MW, it is hoped that this newly-released funding will go some way towards helping the bloc hit its ambitious emission reduction commitments while also creating and supporting thousands of new jobs across the member states.

Private businesses interested in pitching for the funding now have three months to submit bids at national level, while it remains to be seen whether or not - as was mooted back when the NER300 plans were first unveiled towards the start of the year - CCS projects will enjoy the majority of the money due to the relatively large up-front costs of putting the technology into practice in comparison to renewables start-up projects.

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Topics: Carbon Dioxide Articles / Greenhouse Gases Articles