Skip to main content

Carbon Capture And Storage

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 7 January 2010

10. What recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of carbon capture and storage technology in reducing the level of carbon dioxide emissions; and if he will make a statement. (308896)

The International Energy Agency estimates that carbon capture and storage could contribute up to 20 per cent. of the cuts needed in greenhouse gases by 2050. Without CCS, the cost of emission reduction needed to meet climate change targets globally would increase by more than 70 per cent. The four demonstration projects we are planning and those around the world will provide more information on the effectiveness of the technology.

In evidence to the North-East Regional Committee’s report on industry and innovation in the north-east of England, Andrew Sugden, a director of the North East chamber of commerce said:

“The private sector can go so far in clean coal technology, but so much is experimental and this is being done on a scale that has never been tried before. There has to be a balance of risk.”

What more can the Government do in this regard, and what kind of job creation can this technology achieve in the north of England?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to say that the private sector can play a role in this, but the risks relating to this new technology—and, indeed, the gains—do not justify one company making the kind of investment required. That is why we are introducing the carbon capture and storage levy, which will provide a stream of funding for CCS over the next two decades. It is the largest such investment in the world.

We have heard evidence in the Energy and Climate Change Committee of the great enthusiasm of some generators for connecting carbon capture and storage with extra production from the North sea to the tune of about 15 per cent. That has not been mentioned much, and I want to ask the enthusiastic Secretary of State whether he will get enthusiastic about this particular point. [Interruption.]

I am always enthusiastic, as one of my hon. Friends has just helpfully pointed out. We should look at all the technologies that exist. I pay tribute to the hon. Gentleman, because he, among others in the House, is a great advocate of carbon capture and storage and the role that it can play. Britain is uniquely placed in relation to CCS because of the North sea.

11. What steps his Department is taking to encourage the use of carbon capture and storage technology; and if he will make a statement. (308897)

We are planning four demonstration projects funded by the CCS levy. We have also successfully argued for money to be set aside for up to 10 demonstration projects across Europe, and we are working with countries across the world on moving forward CCS technology.

What assessment has my right hon. Friend made of the overall job creation potential of CCS over the next five to 10 years? What will he do to ensure that such jobs are created right across the regions, and not just in the areas local to the plants?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right—across all regions there are opportunities relating to low carbon and, in a number of regions, relating to carbon capture and storage. We shall shortly look at where the CCS clusters can be, and how we can take proper industrial advantage of CCS. Estimates suggest that tens of thousands of jobs could be created in this area.