High-level debate in the European Parliament on the future of CCS
This week I hosted a high-level parliamentary hearing on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the European Parliament. The event looked at how Europe’s industrial growth can be sustainable while also meeting its decarbonisation objectives.
I hosted the event in conjunction with the Zero Emissions Platform (ZEP). ZEP is a coalition of stakeholders who support CCS as a key technology for combating climate change. It monitors European debates on decarbonisation and contributes to research in this field on the demonstration and deployment of CCS.
The event on Monday featured senior representatives from industry, trade unions and NGOs, along with political stakeholders, MEPs and representatives from the Commission.
Panellists included, Jos Delbeke, Director General DG Climate Action, Phillip Pear on of the ETUC and Jill Duggan from the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership.
In my speech opening the event, I emphasised the need to balance energy security with sustainable industry, particularly heavy industry. We must ensure we safeguard jobs but equally, we must also ensure that our climate objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40%, increasing renewables to 27%, increasing energy efficiency by at least 30% and reforming the greenhouse gas Emission Trading Scheme are met.
I believe that CCS is part of a suite of solutions as it is clean, affordable and reliable – it exploits local and diversified fossil fuel resources effectively, both in terms of cost and environmental impact.
In the UK, we can look to the White Rose Project in Yorkshire and the Humber which will receive €300m of European funding for a new power plant. This plant will be Europe’s first testbed for CCS and the project is expected to support around 2,000 jobs locally.
In February of this year, the UK Government signed a contract with Shell UK to develop a further CCS project at Peterhead in Aberdeenshire. This project is just getting off the ground and still requires a number of approvals including the Scottish Government, planning permission from Abereenshire Council and licences from the UK Government.
However, it clearly shows a trend developing; CCS is coming to the UK.
It is crucial that we recognise the importance of CCS, and what it can bring to industrial growth across the UK and throughout Europe. But there is also a need for urgent and co-ordinated action to both facilitate and manage the development of CCS to protect jobs, our manufacturing base and the climate.
CCS will be a key part in helping both the UK and the EU to meet our climate objectives as we move towards a more sustainable solution to heavy industry.
At European level, I will be working to ensure that CCS targets will be included in our 2030 energy and climate framework and hope that both the European Commission and the Council will continue to offer important support for advancing the CCS technology to its commercial deployment.