Energy company Drax has announced it is withdrawing involvement in the £1bn ($1.52bn) White Rose CCS project being introduced as an example of how carbon capture can work in the UK.

Drax was part of a scheme to store CO2 next to its plant in North Yorkshire, which is the biggest coal-fired power station in the United Kingdom.

But the company has halted work, all because the UK’s Government made a decision to reduce subsidies for renewable energy. Due to a lack of profits, Drax stated it had to put the business and shareholders first.

The two year project is being taken forward by the Capture Power partnership – made up of Drax, Alstom and BOC and is looking at the potential to capture up to 90% of carbon emissions from a new coal fired power station and safely store them beneath the North Sea. The project is due to conclude during the next 6-12 months.

Drax has also confirmed that while at that point it would cease to commit further investment, it will continue to make the site owned by Drax, along with the infrastructure at the Power Plant, available for the project to be built.

Drax Group Operations Director, and Capture Power Board Director, Pete Emery said, “We remain fully committed to completing what we’ve signed up to – the completion of a study into the feasibility and development of world leading technology that could result in dramatic reductions in carbon emissions produced by power stations and heavy industry.”

“We are confident the technology we have developed has real potential, but have reluctantly taken a decision not to invest any further in the development of this project. The decision is based purely on a drastically different financial and regulatory environment and we must put the interests of the business and our shareholders first.”

GMB, the union for energy and engineering construction workers, believes this is evidence that the Government has failed in the commitment to CCS.

Dan Shears, GMB National Health, Safety & Environment Officer, said, “This announcement badly undermines the UK Government’s commitment to funding CCS demonstration projects. These projects are crucial to demonstrate the value of industrial large-scale CCS technology.
CCS will be required on all coal- and gas-fired power stations by 2030, so the demonstration projects set important early operational benchmarks.

The Drax announcement must threaten the viability of CCS in the UK altogether.”