Kickstarting CCS in Europe

2013-10-19 07:39 by Anja Reitz

Five years ago the EU looked set to become the world leader in CCS deployment. Heads of government had not only embraced the idea of having up to 12 demonstration projects in operation by 2015 but had endorsed a European Parliament proposal for a funding mechanism (NER300) that seemed likely to provide sufficient financial support to ensure delivery. An additional €1 billion for a range of pilot projects was found by the European Commission from budget underspend.

Yet there is little to show for the initial enthusiasm. Thirteen significant projects in seven countries were amongst the initial applicants for the first phase of NER300 funding but either they could not meet the inflexible requirements for its allocation or the necessary financial and political support from national governments was not made available. In the second phase only one project (UK - ‘White Rose’) is in the running for just €300m of support but even so the odds are against it meeting the criteria. Most of the pilot projects never achieved fruition.

Europe's failure stems from a lack of commitment to CCS by Member States and the absence of a business model that can promote private investment. While developers of renewable energy have received cash subsidies, CCS promotion depended almost entirely upon the assumption that carbon allowances would be priced so high that investors would do a great deal to avoid emitting CO2. As the carbon price collapsed so did the financial support.

But the fundamental need for CCS to curb emissions from industrial installations and permit the continued use of fossil fuels has not changed. In a report to the European Parliament I have proposed a way forward.


Source: Global CCS Institute blog, Chris Davis, 16 Oct. 2013

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