The assessment examined the regularity, propriety, value for money and feasibility of the projects and concluded that each measure of success was being satisfied.
The programme is designed to deliver the government’s commitment to delivering two CCUS clusters in industrial heartlands by the mid-2020s and at least two further clusters by 2030, with the objective of storing 20-30Mt of CO2 by 2030.
These clusters are expected to support CCUS-enabled hydrogen, gas fired power CCS, industrial carbo capture waste and engineered Greenhouse Gas Removal.
Munby writes in the report that the process to identify CCUS clusters for government support is being carries out as a ‘business as usual’ expenditure which is in line with the existing CCUS budget.
New primary legislation is needed to both provide the Secretary of State with the power to grant economic licenses to CO2 transport and storage network operators and to provide the Secretary of State with powers to bring forward the hydrogen production and industrial carbon capture business models
Satisfied with the propriety test, Munby states that the the CCUS Programme has been approved at both Strategic Outline Business Case and Outline Business Case stage by the BEIS Projects and Investment Committee. The Programme received conditional approval to proceed to the Full Business Case stage from the Major Project Review Group in May 2022. The Programme has received all the required Cabinet Office Commercial Spend Controls.
Value for Money
The accounting officer writes that the cost benefit analysis conducted by the Strategic Outline Business Case demonstrated that CCUS offers a good value for money decarbonisation option to achieve a Net Zero consistent trajectory and is, in fact, essential to meeting Net Zero targets.
There is also, according to Munby, potential for wider economic benefits to be delivered, such as jobs and investment across regions of the UK.
However, she also recognises uncertainty, including the amount of subsidy that will ultimately be required to establish initial Transport & Storage Companies (T&SCo) and emitter projects.
Optimistic about unlocking the potential of the UK through CCUS, Munby writes that transport and storage networks could generate strategic national assets that could have the potential to store both domestic, as well as internationally imported CO2.
The programme underwent a Gateway 2 review In February 2022, and received an amber rating meaning that there was sufficient confidence that the programme can move onto the next phase.
Munby addresses the combined required to deliver the CCUS programme between industry, BEIS and other bodies and commits to continuing this close working relationship.
The full assessment can be read here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/beis-government-major-projects-portfolio-accounting-officer-assessments/carbon-capture-usage-storage-programme-accounting-officer-assessment-2022-html
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