PM Blog | Ed Gavaghan: Carbon Capture and Storage

2013-11-17 10:37 by Anja Reitz

CCS has long been a key component of any future energy strategy devised at global, EU or national level. The EU has been intent on creating a commercially viable CCS project by 2020 in order to fuel growth, jobs, exports, and help set future emission targets for 2030 and beyond.

CCS aims to capture the CO2 emitted by large scale power plants and industrial centres (such as steel). Stored in underground sites, both on land and sea, potentially taking billions of would-be carbon units out of the atmosphere for (to put it mildly) an incredibly long time. In 2000, the EU set out to create 12 commercially viable and operational CCS projects across the EU by 2015. So far, none have come to fruition.

With the deadline fast approaching, industry, the public, and politicians need to understand the issues and importance of CCS for a balanced, and sustainable, energy secure future across the member states.

There are currently 75 on-going CCS projects worldwide, mostly in the US and EU (24 and 21 respectfully), with eight projects in the EU currently working (though none commercially), nine on hold or waiting to start, and five shut down for numerous financial, political and social reasons. Not good statistics when looking at the original goal for 2015.

Even more worrying, was the recent closure (September 2013) of the Norwegian Mongstad plant which was, in all but name, the flagship CCS project for the EU in terms of private investment, structural funds, political capital and industry-wide goodwill. This $1bn project was closed as the cost of capturing, transporting and storing the carbon units collected were deemed untenable in the long term.

With the IPCC report again emphasising the potential two degrees C temperature rise (agreed at the 2009 Copenhagen summit), and the PWC publication stating that the world will blow through the recognised carbon ceiling by 2034 (not 2100 as predicted previously), it is even more imperative that CCS is given the political and financial will to succeed.


Source: The Parliament;
By Ed Gavaghan - 15th November 2013

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