Carbon capture funding cut

Carbon capture and storage (CSS) is key to the long term future of fossil fuel power stations that make an important contribution to Scotland’s energy mix. The UK Government is supposed to be supporting the development of this technology by funding a CCS competition. The original front runner was the ScottishPower plant at Longannet, but that collapsed over a dispute on price. Another Scottish plant at Peterhead is now in the running.

However, papers leaked to the FT seem to confirm that just £200m has been set aside in this Parliament for the supposed £1bn CCS competition. The cutbacks – unknown to those bidding for the £1bn pot – are bound to jeopardise the UK’s global leadership in CCS technology, putting the opportunity to create thousands of skilled jobs at risk.

According to the FT, the figures are in a Cabinet Office document uncovered by Labour that explains the exact amount of funding available for a contest to find a project to capture emissions from fossil fuel plants in the UK. Tom Greatrex, shadow energy minister, said the government had been “caught out stringing the CCS industry along while cutting the available funding. Ministers have serious questions to answer and must come clean about support for CCS.”

The TUC believes that DECC’s decision not to support 2CO’s “shovel ready” CCS project at the Hatfield coal mine in South Yorkshire, was a deliberate attempt by the coalition to slow down the process, perhaps at the behest of the Treasury.  Last October, CO2Sense said, “the decision not to short-list the Don Valley Power Project is a shock, given that it is the top ranked project in a parallel process run by the European Commission. It suggests the Government’s intent to push any major financial commitment to CCS into the next Parliament.”

This is clearly another example of the Treasury undermining serious attempts to address climate change within energy policy.

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