On Thursday 7th September, Scottish Carbon Capture & Storage (SCCS), the largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) research group in the UK, delivered an open letter to Claire Perry, MP, Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry.
The letter, signed by R. Stuart Haszeldine, Professor of Carbon Capture and Storage, addressed the positioning of CCS in the UK’s Clean Growth Plan.
In the document, it states that SCCS is looking forward to the release of the UK Government’s Clean Growth Plan, which will set out the UK’s decarbonisation pathway to the 2020s and early 2030s.
SCCS believe that this solution will be another crucial step towards curbing emissions from industry, electricity generation, heat and transport in line with legally binding climate targets, and welcomes the minister’s intention for the plan to be ‘ambitious as well as robust’.
Climate science, interpreted by the Paris Agreement, implies that a large-scale capability to avoid carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and to generate ‘negative emissions’ will be needed well before 2050: CCS provides such a capability. Developing a CCS industry in the UK would be a cost-effective route to meeting carbon targets as well as offering economic opportunities, the letter states.
SCCS suggests that the UK should develop its own CCS industry as opposed to ‘buying-in’ a CO2 management service from another state, such as Norway, as has been previously suggested. It says, “we strongly believe that this approach would be a false economy for the UK; more jobs and a better balance of payments can be realised by developing our own CO2 storage.”
SCCS highlights in the letters accompanying page, some of the issues and missed opportunities that the alternative approach would lead to.
It sates, “The development of a UK CCS industry would enable us to export equipment and expertise, maintain high quality jobs in the North Sea oil and gas sector and also provide a CO2 management service to other European states, in parallel and in competition with the service likely to be offered by Norway.”
“If we decide to use a Norwegian CO2 management service, we will relinquish any control of costs and a guaranteed availability of storage, which will adversely affect our ability to meet climate targets independently. Conversely, if the UK controls investment and delivery of a CCS industry, we can manage the cost of dealing with our own emissions while generating revenue from the sale of CO2 storage to other European states,” the letter concludes.
SCCS states that it would be eager to arrange a meeting with the Minister to discuss further these opportunities and the choices that face the UK.