Several reviews of future energy pathways have identified BECCS as an important tool for achieving decarbonisation objectives, so this project examines the likely implications of BECCS on natural capital in the UK and internationally. It will focus on the spatial context of likely infrastructure developments (of direct relevance to the UK NCC recommendation for a 25 year plan) and the likely types, quantity and locations of biomass production. Project 6 will build on existing knowledge within the consortium, including NEA-FO, the UKERC 2 biomass spatial mapping project, and on-going complementary work in UKERC 3 and SUPERGEN Bioenergy MAGLUE that are considering imported biomass for UK co-firing power stations, providing quantification and comparison of the natural capital impacts of home-grown versus imported feedstocks. We will quantify the impact of infrastructure development and maintenance, considering a 10-15 GW installed capacity by 2030.
Project 6 is a collaborative effort between energy, engineering and natural capital evaluation researchers. The NEA scenarios, NEAFO land use change model and outputs from Project 1 in ADVENT and UKERC energy pathways will be used alongside a case study approach targeting specific BECCS options, to develop a framework for considering the impacts of BECCS on natural capital and ESs. This will include identifying potential locations for new BECCs or CCS infrastructure and/or changes to existing and pipeline connections required to the storage areas. Based on current land/maritime area use, we will then assess the likely impact on natural capital of each shift towards the new energy use. This will include GHG emissions, change in habitat, threatened wildlife, change in human access to amenities, net changes in economic values, visual amenity, jobs gain/loss, impact on food production, etc. From this we can then quantify the impacts of each pathway to identify the options with the most positive (or least negative) impacts.
Key outputs will be GIS layers that identify the likely locations of new infrastructure and supply chain development for BECCS, with metrics spatially resolved to quantify the impacts of these developments on natural capital. These data will be supplied to WP6 for modelling approaches being led by UEA/UCL.
Blog 15 Dec 2017
Does the Clean Growth Strategy adequately acknowledge the wider environmental and social impacts of decarbonisation, and what are the key risks and opportunities it poses for ecosystem services?