The Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) and the Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (SCCS) group have both welcomed the announcement from the Department of Energy and Climate Change of £2.5m funding for the North Sea project.

The cash injection, from the DECC’s Innovation Fund is to support the development of geological stores for the next phase of UK Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects.

Luke Warren, Chief Executive of the CCSA, comments, “We welcome the Government’s continued efforts to advance CCS. The announcement today reinforces the UK’s competitive advantage in CCS by putting the North Sea at the heart of the CCS development programme. The UK is one of the best places in the world to develop CCS. Its unique geology - which could provide over 100 years of storage capacity - is optimally located to be used by the UK’s major CO2 emitters”.

The International Energy Agency has long argued that CCS is the single most important technology available in meeting the challenge of reducing CO2 emissions from power and industrial sources. Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its ‘Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report’ in which CCS was identified as the essential low-carbon technology needed to help cost-effectively reduce global CO2 emissions.

The report found that without CCS the total cost of limiting CO2 emissions could increase by 138%.  Successfully developing a commercial CCS industry could therefore provide the UK with a distinct competitive advantage versus those countries that don’t develop CCS.

This is new funding and comes in addition to a number of Government announcements on CCS, including the announcement last month of additional funding available for CCS research, development and innovation as part of DECC’s Energy Entrepreneurs Fund. Phase 4 of this Scheme makes available £5m for projects in Financial Year 2015/16, with up to £2.5m prioritised for projects focused on CCS and related technologies.

Prof Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS Director, said, “Today’s funding announcement is a positive indication that DECC is planning ahead for a second phase of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) development, following what we hope will be the realisation of the UK’s first large-scale demonstration projects, Peterhead and White Rose. It signals a strong commitment to seeing the development of CO2 storage sites in the UK move from theoretical to licensable.”

“SCCS has been very much involved in identifying and characterising the UK’s considerable North Sea storage assets, including work on the CO2MultiStore Joint Industry Project, and our Progressing Scotland’s CO2 storage opportunities analysis. We believe the UK is unique in Europe in being able to offer around 70 billion tonnes of CO2 storage. This will be of huge benefit to high-carbon economies sited around the North Sea, such as Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany and Belgium. Other European countries, such as Poland, will be able to connect to a North Sea CCS storage network, and we are working on progressing this opportunity through the EU’s Projects of Common Interest.”

“With our considerable experience in storage analysis both in the UK and globally, we look forward to bidding with commercial and academic partners to assist DECC and ETI in delivering this forward looking analysis.”