UK Government opens up CCS programme to gas

The UK Government today announced that it is opening up its carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration programme to gas-fired power stations.

The programme aims to see three CCS projects up and running, following the winner of the competition for the first demonstration project, which now only has one candidate in the running after E.ON’s withdrawal of its Kingsnorth proposal.

The Government committed £1 billion to the first commercial scale CCS demonstration project in the recent spending review.

However, it has come under increasing pressure in recent months to include gas-fired power stations in its plans.

“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,” says Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne.

The UK is likely to continue to rely on gas for years to come, he says, and investing in CCS now will help support the reduction of carbon emissions.

However, in a bid to encourage companies to come forward, Huhne emphasises that the inclusion of gas-fired power stations in the CCS programme does not mean their emissions will be covered by the same regulations as coal.

“I want to be clear that this does not mean that we are imposing the same emission constraints on gas-fired power plants as on coal in the short or medium term,” he says.

Gas-fired power plants currently make up around a third of the UK’s generate capacity, but could expand rapidly in coming year to replace ageing coal and nuclear plants.

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Related stories:
E.ON’s Kingsnorth drops out of UK carbon capture competition (21-Oct)
CCS should be extended to gas, says UK climate committee (21-Jun)
UK Government announces £1.3 million investment in carbon capture (5-Aug)
E.ON and ScottishPower win funding for UK carbon capture trial (15-Mar)

08 November 2010