Positive Environment News

UK Opens Carbon Capture Competition To Gas Projects

Date: 09-Nov-10
Country: UK
Author: Karolin Schaps and Kwok W. Wan

Britain will open its next competition for building carbon-capture-and-storage (CCS) projects to gas-fired power plants with a possible 9.5 billion pounds ($15.37 billion) up for grabs, the energy ministry said on Monday.

"Today the government is reasserting its mission to lead the world on CCS by opening our funding process to what could be one of the first ever commercial-scale CCS projects on a gas-fired plant in the world," Department of Energy and Climate Change Secretary (DECC) Chris Huhne said.

He said gas-fired power projects would not be forced to meet the same carbon emissions constraints as coal-fired power plants.

The government also said up to 9.5 billion pounds could be spent on its four CCS competition projects over the next 15 years, including the one billion already earmarked for the first post-combustion coal CCS competition.

"The other three competition entries is open to more technologies and this is very preliminary cost analysis. It's up to 9.5 billion: we're not saying it is 9.5 billion," a DECC spokeswoman said.

The opening of the competition to other technologies could mean Centrica's withdrawn Teesside pre-combustion project, shelved because it did not fit the rules for the first competition, could now theoretically be re-entered.

The utility said it had no interest in developing carbon capture technology on coal-fired plants, such as the Teesside project.

"We withdrew from that project some years back, that's completely gone," a spokesman said.

Centrica's former partner Progressive Energy has since continued developing the Teesside project and said on Monday it hoped to enter it into the government's next CCS funding round.

"We're looking at more than one way of skinning the cat. These projects are very expensive," said a spokesman for the developer, which is planning more than two CCS projects in Britain.

Construction consultancy WSP Future Energy said a pioneering CCS technology developed in Britain could create jobs as CCS systems will be needed in other countries which depend on fossil fuels for power production.

CCS technology traps climate warming carbon emissions and buries it underground, but is unproven on a commercial scale. While gas-fired power plants emit less than coal-fired plants, CCS technology is needed for both to ensure Britain's energy sector is fully decarbonized.

E.ON withdrew its Kingsnorth project from the first CCS demonstration competition in late October, leaving Iberdrola owned Scottish Power's Longannet as the only remaining candidate.

(Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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