The government must bring forward its plans to support carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology by at least a decade, or risk irreversible damage to UK industry, a report warns.
The paper calls for the launch of a CCS pilot area on Teesside which would put post-Brexit Britain at the forefront of clean energy technology; and save industries severely threatened by rising environmental pressures.
CCS enables the potential capture of up to 90 per cent of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels used within industrial processes, electricity generation and from power plants.
In its Clean Growth Strategy in 2017, the government announced its intentions to become a “global technology leader for CCS”.
This would see it aiming to deploy CCS at scale by the 2030s, as backed up by the recommendations of the CCUS Cost Challenge Taskforce.
However, think tank Policy North believes, unless CCS is supported sooner, industry across the North of England will continue to suffer due to increasing penalties from various worldwide climate and environmental regulations.
For the government to save industry across the North of England, and the wider the UK, it must aim for the introduction of CCS processes in the 2020s, it warns.
Callum Crozier of Policy North, who authored the report, says: “The longer we leave this, the longer our industry in the UK will be damaged by increasingly burdensome environmental regulations and international climate change agreements.
“As we leave the EU and set our sights on a future path as a truly Global Britain exporting goods to the world, it has never been more important to support our traditional industries.”
Policy North’s research suggests a comprehensive roll-out of CCS technology across industryin Teesside would:
· Deliver prosperity by protecting Teesside’s industry from environmental penalties from emissions;
· Establish the UK as the leading nation in clean energy and clean growth;
· Have incredible benefits for public health in Teesside by making air considerably cleaner.
As well as establishing a pilot area on Teesside, the government must also create favourable regulatory measures for CCS operations to be adopted by industry, the report says.
Policy North believes bringing CCS plans forward by at least a decade would put the UK ahead of the EU in what is a rapidly-growing, burgeoning industry.
Of the 20 small-scale demonstrating CCS projects across the world, none are in the EU. The European Energy Programme for Recovery and NER300 has attempted to encourage developments in CCS operations, but thus far, has failed to deliver.
Policy North’s recommendations have been backed by Simon Clarke, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland.
He says: “By trapping up to 90 per cent of carbon before it is emitted, CCS technology can help ensure economic growth is totally compatible with our international climate commitments. Indeed, the Committee on Climate Change has stated that CCS has the potential to almost halve the cost of meeting the UK’s 2050 target.
“We have before us an opportunity to be at the forefront of CCS technology in Europe. With the UK’s departure from the EU, it is now time, more than ever, for the UK to demonstrate international leadership.”