Response to BEIS Committee carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) inquiry
26 Aug 2018
This evidence is a joint submission by the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources (ISR) and UKERC. These two institutions have worked together closely in the past, including on a report commissioned by the Global CCS Institute, on The role of CCS in meeting climate policy targets.
We are submitting evidence because we believe CCUS is likely to have a critical role as part of an overall decarbonisation strategy for the UK – and, perhaps more importantly, for the world. We are keen to take part in the debate as to how this can be achieved.
- Current modelling evidence suggests that meeting carbon reduction targets will be at best significantly more expensive, and at worst impossible, without CCUS.
- This is primarily due to its offer of emissions reductions in industrial sectors, and of negative emissions with biomass, rather than as a power sector technology per se.
- Attempting to pre-define a cost-reduction trajectory for CCUS in advance is difficult and uncertain.
- Rather, the government should establish a maximum subsidy level at which it would be prepared to contribute to funding CCUS, and commit to fund projects should they reach this level or go below it.
- It should then introduce competitive mechanisms to assist discovery of the lowest cost, similar to the Contract for Difference (CfD) auctions.
- It also needs to support the whole innovation chain, coordinating diverse actors across industry and power sectors, CO2 transmission and storage; supporting research, development and demonstration efforts of shared benefit; taking over whole chain risk; identifying synergies between industrial sectors.
- Although CCUS currently appears to be critical to industry decarbonisation, there are other potential options which may compete with or indeed complement CCUS in the longer term. A bottom-up, granular approach to decarbonisation challenges and opportunities within specific UK industry clusters will yield greater long-term benefits than a single-technology focus on CCUS alone.
Related Publication (1)
In this policy response, Ian Temperton, who sat on the CCUS Cost Challenge Task Force and the Parliamentary Advisory Group on CCS, takes a critical look at the outputs from these eminent bodies.