Government announces 'world leading commitment' to CCUS

The Government has announced the eight projects which will progress to negotiations to form the first two CCUS clusters, in the North East and North West.
Government announces 'world leading commitment' to CCUS

Today (March 30) the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy released the 'Powering Up Britain - Delivering Energy Security and Net Zero' document, announcing the eight projects to progress to negotiations to form CCUS clusters in the North of England. With potential CO2 storage capacity in the UK estimated at 78 billion tonnes, the Government recognises CCUS as a substantial opportunity for growth through international trade. 

The projects which have been chosen are split into two clusters as follows:

East Coast Cluster

  • Net Zero Teesside Power
  • bpH2Teesside
  • Teesside Hydrogen CO2 Capture 

HyNet Cluster

  • Hanson Padeswood Cement Works Carbon Capture and Storage Project
  • Viridor Runcorn Industrial CCS
  • Protos Energy Recovery Facility 
  • Buxton Lime Net Zero
  • HyNet Hydrogen Production Plant 1 (HPP1) 

The government has stated that this list "does not represent the extent of its ambition". Later this year plans will be announced to launch the process for the expansion of Track-1 clusters. 

The news has been welcomed by the successful projects, including Viridor whose Runcorn facility will capture c.900,000 tonnes of CO2, providing stable baseload supply to the HyNet industrial carbon capture cluster in the North West. Kevin Bradshaw, CEO of Viridor commented:

We are delighted at today’s announcement which is a significant step forward in reaching Viridor’s target of net zero by 2040 and climate positive by 2045. Delivery of carbon capture on EfW is essential to decarbonising the waste sector and will help to create some of the 50,000 jobs in the carbon capture economy across the UK by 2030. We look forward to continuing to engage with the Government to ensure that the UK becomes a world leader in industrial carbon capture.”

Meanwhile, Net Zero Teeside Power is set to be the world’s first commercial-scale gas-fired power station with carbon capture. Ian Hunter, Managing Director, Net Zero Teesside Power, said:

The selection of NZT Power is a hugely positive step forward for Teesside and the UK. NZT Power will create and support thousands of jobs, whilst providing enough low carbon power to meet the electricity needs of around 1.3 million homes. NZT Power is designed to provide flexible low-carbon power – an essential back up to intermittent forms of renewable power – enabling the further deployment of wind and solar power nationally. Thank you to our partners in DESNZ for continuing to maintain momentum and support.”

Despite the positive responses from project leads, Green Alliance has expressed concern that the wider announcements in the Power Up Britain document still don't go far enough, and argue that the government have in fact downgraded their ambitions for a circular economy. 

Chris Venables, Head of Politics at UK think tank, Green Alliance commented:

The measures around zero emission vehicles are promising, as are those supporting the floating offshore wind industry and extending the roll out of heat pumps. Yet while carbon capture will play a role in the future, there are fears that it will be used to justify further oil and gas drilling.

The best way to provide energy security, create jobs and tackle climate change is through massive investment in existing green technology. If the US has set the bar with the Inflation Reduction Act, then the UK is falling far short, and still largely focusing on short term fixes."

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