Power Generation | Carbon Capture and Storage

Longannet’s demise could be good news for other UK CCS projects

While the cancellation of Scottish Power’s Longannet carbon capture and storage demonstration project has provoked shock, it is not the end of the technology in the UK.

Writing in The Guardian newspaper yesterday, senior policy adviser at think tank the Green Alliance Chris Littlecott says the decision opens the way for new projects.

As the government’s CCS competition lumbered on, seven UK projects bid for European funding under the NER300 programme. The rest of Europe combined only managed to put forward six projects.

The bidders are now being scrutinised by the European Investment Bank with recommendations on funding expected in the middle of next year.

Crucially, says Littlecott, the government has left its £1 billion CCS fund on the table, allowing it to co-finance any of the winning projects under the European programme.

The seven projects now under consideration are also a step forward on the Longannet post-combustion retrofit project, says Littlecott. The shortlist contains SSE’s Peterhead project, which would apply CCS technology to a gas-fired power station, as well as post-combustion schemes on three coal-fired facilities (Don Valley, Eston Grange and Killingholme) and an oxyfuel project at Drax.

According to Littlecott, all the proposed projects would fully capture CO2 emissions and are applied to existing facilities so avoiding the problems associated with a new building, which drove E.ON’s Kingsnorth project out the running.

And while the end of the Longannet project is bad news for Scotland, the EU funding could be good news for Yorkshire. The Don Valley project has already garnered €180 million in EU support through another programme, which has enabled National Grid to move ahead with a CO2 pipeline. That pipeline is likely to pass close by another Yorkshire candidate, Drax, opening up the possibility of a CO2 capture network in the region.

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Related stories:
Longannet carbon capture and storage projects falls through (20-Oct)
Scottish Energy Minister urges UK Government to support Longannet CCS project (13-Oct)
UK confirms 14 projects have applied for EU CCS and renewables funding (18-Feb)
SSE applies for EU funding for Peterhead CCS project (11-Feb)

21 October 2011