The UK Government’s decision to scrap its £1bn Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) programme is a “disgrace”, according to Scottish Government energy minister Fergus Ewing.
CCS aims to traps carbon dioxide, emitted by coal and gas power plants, and store it underground in an effort to mitigate climate change.
He added: “Only six months ago, the Government’s manifesto committed £1bn of funding for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)”.
A spokesperson from Britain’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said it is still committed to meeting its domestic carbon reduction targets and pushing for a strong deal from the Paris climate talks.
The projects competing for the funding include Shell and SSE’s Peterhead gas-fired scheme and Capture Power’s White Rose project in Yorkshire. “However, it is hard to imagine its continuation in the absence of crucial government support”, Leigh Hackett, CEO of Capture Power, said in a statement.
Dr Luke Warren, chief executive of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, said: “Today’s announcement that the funding for CCS will be cut is devastating”.
“The government has announced that gas will continue to play a role in future power supply, but gas is still a major emitter of CO2, as is heavy industry and we need policies to capture emissions”. Instead the decision to pull the plug on the CCS programme, to meet a deeply flawed austerity agenda, is breathtakingly short-sighted, even for this UK Government.
In September, Drax, a former White Rose partner, said it was withdrawing from the project because of “a drastically different financial and regulatory environment”.
A Shell spokesman said: “Shell is disappointed at the withdrawal of funding for the CCS Commercialisation Competition, in which our Peterhead CCS project was one of the final contenders”. Moving the goalposts just at the time when a four year competition is about to conclude is an appalling way to do business. We call on the Government to come forward – as a matter of urgency – with their plans for CCS as this technology is critical for the UK’s economic, industrial and climate policies.
EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said the Government’s decision to abandon the competition was “extremely disappointing”.
“In choosing to save a relatively small sum of taxpayer money in 2015, the Government is unnecessarily committing a vast amount of future energy consumers’ money”. “It is a significant blow to investor confidence and puts the U.K.’s chances for cost-effective decarbonization at risk”.