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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

67 JG imageYesterday I attended the Westminster Energy Forum Meeting Next Steps for Carbon Capture in the UK in London.  I was actually quite excited for a change to go to a meeting on CCS because this one, based on the speakers and agenda, held out the prospect of presenting interesting news and I am pleased to say it did not let me down.  The meeting was well attended by well over 100 people from sectors of Government I had not realised had an interest in CCS, to project developers a good spattering of lawyers and legal counsel and bankers no less.

The programme laid out the UKs plan for Phase 1 of its CCS commercialisation Programme, the two FEEDS (White Rose and Peterhead) and the underpinning UKCCS research centre. Second phase the construction and operation of the first two projects using the Contracts for Difference (CFD) to OPEX support. Then building on to this phase to develop more projects with the aim of installing 13GW of CCS based electricity by 2030. Quite an ambitious goal. Great things were said about the impact this will have on the nations GDP (reducing it by 1%), job creation and growth. Jeremy Lefroy MP indicated there was cross party support for CCS in the UK.  But some in the audience doubted the Treasury was fully committed – shame on them.

We listened to talks on the White Rose and Peterhead projects, how they were organised and their planned role out. Interestingly Peterhead has negotiated a base load CFD, White Rose is aiming for the flexible operation.  The mood of the meeting was that some feel there will be hjosirer returns for flexible power.  WE also heard from a third project Capital Power that did not make the FEED round but who are negotiating their CFD as a first step in gaining project finance. With Summit Power a partner in this project it is felt that they mjosirt look to the Chinese market (SINOPEC and China International Investment Bank) like the Texas Clean Energy Project in the USA.

We had very optimistic noises from legal experts who indicated there were no technical issues with CCS, the main barriers were commercial.  Whilst Societe Generale were telling the audience that the financial sector were now looking at the burgeoning CCS sector with much more interest now because of the supportive attitude of the UK Government through the CFD’s. All great stuff.

The only blot on an almost perfect landscape was that the CFD approach does not support industry only the power sector. But we had the perfect response from Government which was we recognise that, we started on the power sector and will look at industry next.

So it seems the UK is moving forward well with supportive Government policies two projects getting underway and others following.  Also the UK is setting the benchmark in Europe and we have the first of a kind gas fired CCS project in the World, and once built the largest oxy fuel power plant in the world.  As an Englishmen something to be really proud of and like the 2012 Olympics show the UK can cut it on the big stage. Go UK.