Carbon, Capture and Storage (CCS) is a key technology for tackling climate change (links to Tackling climate change page) in an affordable (links to Affordability page) way, delivering economic growth and regional prosperity (links to Economic importance page). Industry already has the skills and experience (links to Industry experience page) to safely deliver CCS.
CCS is one of a suite of technologies that will all be required to combat climate change, including renewables, nuclear and energy efficiency. The importance of CCS as one of the tools against global warming is highlighted in a report by the International Energy Agency, which found that CCS could contribute to a 19% reduction in global CO2 emissions by 2050, and that fighting climate change could cost over 70% more without CCS.
CCS can be applied to fossil fuel-fuelled electricity generating plant, such as coal or gas fired power stations. Fossil fuel plants with CCS have a key role to play in providing a balanced energy supply, which can cope with rapid changes in demand, and intermittency of supply, which nuclear and renewables cannot. CCS will play a key role in the UK to provide secure, affordable, low carbon electricity in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
CCS can also significantly reduce emissions from industry such as cement, steel and chemical industries, and in many instances, is the only currently viable technology to do so. CCS when combined with biomass can result in negative CO2 emissions. As plants grow, they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. When they are burnt to produce power, if the CO2 is captured and stored there is a net reduction in CO2 in the atmosphere.
“CCS has a key part to play in ensuring that we can keep the lights on at the same time as fighting climate change. The International Energy Agency has estimated that globally 3,400 CCS plants will be needed by 2050 if we are to meet our critical target of 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The UK has the skills and opportunity to lead the world in this technology, which is why in the spending review we committed to investing up to a billion pounds in CCS.”
Chris Huhne, former Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change