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Over 100 years of CCS Treasures held under the North Sea!

A Calm North Sea

A Calm North Sea

According to UK’s  Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) the North Sea has potential to store over 100 years worth of UK power station CO2 emissions.

In the build up to the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) in London on 13th October, DECC has launched a UK wide consultation to explore the idea to develop and manage the potential carbon storage sites under the North Sea, to harness the huge potential for storing CO2.

According to the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Milliband says:-

“There’s enough potential under the North Sea to store more than 100 years worth of CO2 emissions from the UK’s power fleet.  We are also working closely with Norway and other North Sea Basin countries to ensure the North Sea fulfils its potential in the deployment of CCS in Europe. We want to get the UK regulatory framework in place so we can harness that potential and make the North Sea part of the CCS revolution.”  (Source: DECC)

The future talks of The Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF), which is made up from a private and public member (including Ministers from 23 countries) will build on the foundations of the G8’s ambition to launch twenty CCS demonstration projects globally by 2010; and prospects of a global agreement on CCS prior to the UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen this December. (Source: DECC)

 “Without CCS there is no solution to climate change.   As well as getting things in place in the UK and Europe we need that consensus at the global talks in Copenhagen.   The meeting in London will be a pivotal part of moving the discussion on CCS forwards.”  (Quote: Ed Milliband).

Subject to the outcome of this consultation, DECC aim to make and lay regulations in the first quarter of 2010 in order to bring the regime into force in April 2010. (Source: DECC)

This CCS target will form part of the UK’s Low Carbon Transition Plan which was first introduced in 2008, it sets out how the UK will meet the 34 percent cut in emissions on 1990 levels by 2020.  The plans set out to reach the following target by 2020:

  • More than 1.2 million people will be in green jobs
  • 7 million homes will have benefited from whole house makeovers, and more than 1.5 million households will be supported to produce their own clean energy.
  • Around 40 percent of electricity will be from low-carbon sources, from renewables, nuclear and clean coal.
  • UK will be importing half the amount of gas that we otherwise would.
  • The average new car will emit 40 percent less carbon than now. 

 

In times of financial and economic instability, the government has committed a very large sum of £405 million towards developing low carbon technologies to meet the Transition Plan targets. This commitment to CCS is prevalent in the recent announcement to support a multimillion-pound research facility in Yorkshire, The Centre for Low Carbon Futures.  This is an innovative £50m research centre that combines the expertise and research power of the Yorkshire universities, with funding from Yorkshire Forward.  The centre aims to build a competitive, sustainable and carbon-efficient regional economy, while providing climate change solutions of national and international significance in collaboration with local business.

So far, the Centre has already identified its first four pilot research projects, which include:

  • The regional economics of climate change
  • Low carbon supply chains
  • Biorenewables
  • Carbon Capture Technology

In September 2009, the UK government has also injected £20m into early stage works for developing advances in wave, tidal, fuel cells, solar and energy efficiency technologies.   Announced in September, the ‘clean energy technologies fund’ will be like the ‘Dragons Den’ Venture Capitalists TV series, aiming to attract private sector finance in coming forward to fund new innovative clean technology projects.

 Simon Walker, Chief Executive of the British Venture Capital Association, said:

“Low carbon energy technologies backed by venture capitalists will play an important role in creating a sustainable energy future for the UK. In 2009 we have seen a dramatic fall in the amount invested into clean energy companies in the UK. We welcome any initiative which boosts the supply of capital into this crucial sector.”

Penny Shepherd MBE, Chief Executive of UK Sustainable Investment and Finance said:

“Government support now is vital to develop the UK low carbon technology businesses that we need for lasting prosperity. This commitment shows that the Government is serious about promoting a low carbon economy and sustainable investment in the UK.”

With the financial commitment from government and the new opportunities exposed by the CCS storage capacity in the North Sea emerging, the academic support is absolutely paramount into driving UK’s commitment to achieving further gains in meeting not only the UKs carbon reduction targets, but also to share these technologies with the rest of the world at the UN Summit in Copenhagen to contribute to the global efforts needed.

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