United Kingdom: The Challenges Facing Carbon Capture And Storage

2013-10-01 07:07 by Anja Reitz

Project level challenges

The White Rose project in Yorkshire involves the construction and commissioning of a new 426MW (Gross) coal-fired power plant with the ability to co-fire biomass. The new plant is to be fully equipped with oxfuel combustion technology and would aim to capture approximately 90 per cent of its annual CO2 emissions.

The power plant would depend on the success of a separate project, led by National Grid, to construct and operate a CO2 transport pipeline leading to permanent geological storage facilities approximately 2km offshore.

Although proceeding as separate projects, the development consent processes are inextricably linked. In its Scoping Opinion on the White Rose Project the Planning Inspectorate emphasised the potential need to carry out a full assessment under the Habitats Directive, and endorsed Natural England's consultation response by stressing that any Environmental Statement relating to White Rose must include full consideration of the whole scheme, extending to:

Existing completed projects (e.g. the Drax power plant adjoining the White Rose site)

  • Approved but uncompleted projects
  • Plans or projects under consideration, and
  • Plans or projects which are reasonably foreseeable (i.e. projects for which an application has not yet been submitted, but which are likely to progress before completion of the development and for which sufficient information is available to assess the likelihood of cumulative and in-combination effects).

The Scoping Opinion specifically refers to the proposed Yorkshire and Humber CCS Pipeline proposals, underlining the fact that in considering whether to grant consent for the power plant and onshore elements of White Rose the cumulative and combined impact of the transport and offshore storage elements must be taken into account.

Given that the precise details of key elements remain uncertain, any development consent application must adopt the "Rochdale Envelope Principle", under which an applicant seeking flexibility should assess and present the maximum potential adverse impacts. This requirement creates two distinct risks:

  • Increased risk of challenge prompted by presentation of the "worst case scenario", and
  • Increased risk of challenge from opponents arguing that the applicant has, in fact, failed to disclose the worst case scenario.

Local press coverage since 2011 has tended to emphasise the scope for disruption and to highlight the potential need to exercise compulsory purchase powers, particularly in respect of the cross country pipeline. The potential for opposition during the development consent order process is significant.


Source:mondaq - Connecting Knowledge & People, Last Updated: 25 September 2013, article by Malcolm Dowden,

Charles Russell LLP


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