MEPs today overwhelmingly approved a report calling for EU action to kick-start the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to reduce CO2 emissions from industry and power generation, with 524 voting in favour and just 141 against.
Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, who authored the report, commented:
“With CO2 capture plants under construction in the USA, Canada and China, Europe could not only fail to achieve CO2 reductions at the least possible cost but also risks losing out on export orders.
“CCS can help to provide Europe with low carbon electricity even when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining. Flagship projects to develop the technology need to be given financial support equivalent to that given to renewable energy.
“Most governments have yet to give thought to how they will achieve CO2 reductions of 80% or more by 2050. When they start to look to the long-term a significant number will realise that CCS could have a key role to play.”
The lead CCS project in Europe at present is in the UK. The British government is supporting a major engineering study into the use of the technology by the White Rose consortium at Drax power station in Yorkshire.
Chris Davies’ report calls on every EU country to publish a CO2-reduction strategy indicating how they will achieve the 2050 goal. Those governments that choose to endorse carbon capture would have to play an active role in providing financial support, assisting in the building of a pipeline network and helping to prepare storage sites. The MEP has also called for an EU-wide target to be agreed so that unused funds currently set aside for CCS are spent and a range of flagship projects brought forward. This would promote innovation, reduce costs and help make CCS become accepted as a viable option in the long-term.
Carbon capture innovation projects can now apply for £168m worth of funding for the development of clean energy under the EU’s 2014-2020 Horizon 2020 research framework. Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard told the Parliament on Monday that the promotion of CCS would feature in the climate and energy strategy that the European Commission will adopt next week.
Notes to editors
The full report can be found here.
UK government support for the development of CCS includes a £1 billion commercialisation competition to support the development commercial-scale CCS and a £125 million 4-year research programme
The International Energy Agency says that CCS should be responsible for 20% of the CO2 reductions to be achieved globally by 2050.