WWF UK is pleased to hear the news that the British government has confirmed that they will be providing millions of pounds in funding for the next stage of the UK’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) competition. The two remaining entries, Scottish Power and E.On, will be receiving huge financial backing for their detailed engineering studies, with Scottish Power’s taking place at their existing coal plant at Longannet in Fife.
These studies will hopefully lead to an immediate net reduction in CO2 emissions from the power sector if it goes ahead. The E.On project would involve the building of a new coal plant at Kingsnorth in Kent if it succeeded, risking the possibility of a new lease of life to this already controversial proposal. The Government is putting through a legislation in the Energy Bill that would enable around £9.5 billion to be raised over a period of 20 years for 4 carbon capture demonstrations, with the money being raised via a levy on consumer electricity bills. The Energy Bill will have its Second Reading in the House of Lords on Tuesday 23rd March 2010.
Dr Keith Allott, head of climate change at WWF-UK said
Moves to demonstrate carbon capture and storage are welcome but it is essential that this technology is tested in a way that benefits the climate from the outset and does not lock the UK into new indefinitely polluting coal plants. Opting now for Longannet would enable the UK to gain experience on the ground relatively quickly and will actually reduce emissions from day one. It is therefore concerning that the Government continues to flirt with a new plant at Kingsnorth that wouldn’t be up and running until 2016 or later and even then, would have 80% of its emissions going to the atmosphere.
It will be a sorely missed opportunity if the Government doesn’t use the Energy Bill to put in place a CO2 emission performance standard that would set robust limits on emissions from power plant. The Government is planning to spend billions of pounds of consumer’s money on demonstrating CCS, an as yet commercially ‘unproven’ technology so it is only reasonable to expect guarantees that the climate will benefit.
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