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Carbon Dioxide Transport and Storage Revenue Support (Directions and Counterparty) Regulations 2024

Volume 838: debated on Monday 13 May 2024

Considered in Grand Committee

Moved by

That the Grand Committee do consider the Carbon Dioxide Transport and Storage Revenue Support (Directions and Counterparty) Regulations 2024.

My Lords, I beg to move that these regulations, which were laid before the House on 15 April this year under the affirmative process, be approved. I will also speak to the draft Carbon Capture Revenue Support (Directions, Eligibility and Counterparty) Regulations 2024. To save a considerable amount of time, I will hereafter refer to these regulations as the CO2 transport and storage regulations and the carbon capture regulations.

These regulations are part of a series of secondary legislation made under powers in the Energy Act 2023, a landmark piece of legislation, which received Royal Assent on 26 October; I am grateful for the support that noble Lords gave me in getting that important legislation through. I will first provide some important background on the UK’s carbon capture landscape before turning to the rationale and the details of the regulations.

Carbon capture, usage and storage, commonly known as CCUS, supports the UK’s legally binding commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. In 2021, HyNet and the East Coast Cluster were announced as the UK’s first CCUS clusters, where CO2 will be captured from a range of sources to support the low-carbon economic transformation of our industrial regions. The CO2 transport and storage network—the T&S network—is essential for building that CCUS capability, as it is the enabling infrastructure for captured CO2 to be transported to permanent, offshore storage.

To facilitate the development of T&S infrastructure, the Energy Act 2023 makes provision for revenue support to be available to any eligible transport and storage company, abbreviated to T&SCo. Revenue support is part of the broader T&S regulatory investment model, or TRI model.

Under the TRI model, an allowed revenue will be determined for transport and storage companies, and exposure to revenue gaps, which refer to instances where annual revenue from user charges is less than a T&SCo’s allowed revenue, will be mitigated. For example, where a revenue gap arises beyond a T&S company’s control, such as where a network user is late joining the network, a shortfall in allowed revenue may arise. In those instances, T&S companies can increase charges across the user base up to a cap.

Should the increase in charges across the user base up to the cap be insufficient, we are proposing that T&SCos be entitled to revenue support as a last resort mechanism, funded by the Government, enabling T&SCos to recover shortfalls through a revenue support agreement—hereafter shortened to RSA. Without this, there would remain a significant barrier to investment in T&S infrastructure in the early stages of development of the CCUS sector.

I turn to the detail of the transport and storage regulations. RSAs will be offered as a contract between a T&S company and a counterparty, which will be done under a direction of the Secretary of State in accordance with Section 60 of the Act. To maintain integrity of RSA allocation, the first aspect of these regulations places requirements on the Secretary of State’s directions and sets out circumstances in which a direction ceases to have effect, including where the Secretary of State revokes a direction before a T&S company accepts a contract in writing.

Secondly, the counterparty will be responsible for publishing each RSA contract, as well as for establishing and maintaining a public register of key project information. Ensuring transparency of these contracts is essential for encouraging greater understanding of the level of support for, and confidence in, this critical but nascent sector.

To be clear, the regulations allow sensitive information to be redacted by the Secretary of State, ensuring that any sensitive commercial information—for example, information that constitutes trade secrets—or personal data is removed before documents are made public. The statutory instrument’s final measure will require the counterparty to promptly notify the Secretary of State if it is unable to perform its duties.

Turning to the carbon capture regulations, I will first set out the context of industrial carbon capture, ICC, which is critical to decarbonising industries with hard-to-abate emissions and achieving net zero by 2050. The Government’s ambition is to capture and store 6 megatonnes annually of industrial emissions of CO2 by 2030, increasing to 9 megatonnes of CO2 annually by 2035. The ICC business models are designed to incentivise the deployment of carbon capture technology by industrial and waste users who often have no viable alternative to achieve deep decarbonisation.

I turn now to the role of the carbon capture regulations in facilitating the business models. The regulations broadly mirror those that I detailed on transport and storage in respect of the Secretary of State’s directions to a counterparty—in this instance for offering a contract with an eligible carbon capture entity, including where directions cease to have effect or may be revoked. The reporting requirements for a counterparty also remain, including a duty to publish contracts entered into, establish a public register and promptly notify the Secretary of State if the counterparty is, or considers that it is likely to be, unable to carry out its functions.

However, the regulations also satisfy the duty in Section 68(4) of the Act, by determining the meaning of “eligible” in relation to a carbon capture entity, specifically one where the CO2 to be captured and stored is produced by commercial or industrial activities, as set out in the Act.

In short, the regulations set out who can be eligible for support. The transport and storage regulations do not include a definition of eligibility, as an eligible transport and storage company is defined at Section 60(2) of the Act as a person who holds an economic licence or has been notified in writing by the appropriate parties that an economic licence is to be granted. The ICC business models have been developed to support decarbonisation of the industrial sector, including the waste management sector.

We do not consider it appropriate for the ICC business models to support carbon capture deployment for certain parts of the power sector. Therefore, the regulations set out that an entity would be ineligible if it is capturing CO2 produced by the generation of electricity and is connected to one or both transmission and distribution systems in respect of all the electricity that the generation station produces.

However, capture from combined heat and power plants and energy recovery generating stations would be eligible, regardless of how and whether they are connected to the transmission and distribution systems. It should be noted that these regulations form only one part of the assessment for whether projects would be awarded an ICC or waste ICC contract. Further eligibility criteria are expected to be set for individual allocation rounds in the appropriate allocation guidance.

In conclusion, in implementing transport and storage infrastructure and the industrial carbon capture business models, these draft regulations represent an essential step towards achieving our 2030 deployment ambitions and, ultimately, net zero. I therefore commend them to the Committee.

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his explanatory and informative remarks, for these regulations are complexities for the uninitiated in these deceptively thinly paged dual sets of regulations. Surely, they are regulations to be welcomed. It is the war against CO2, and the Minister, if I may say so, has escaped the thickets of Brexit legislation to display insightful knowledge of the huge energy world.

Climate change is upon us. We should not be complacent. I hope the regulations will facilitate the successful overcoming of a big challenge. There are certainly ambitious targets. Can the Minister explain a little further the register and the counterparty in Regulation 6(2)? Also, in paragraph 4.2 of the helpful and necessary Explanatory Memorandum we see the power of the Secretary of State to “direct”. It is reasonable for a Back-Bencher in a Parliament to query that word. Here, at first glance, it is the granting of all-powerful influence. Is that so? I think I know the Minister well enough in parliamentary terms to know that he is not a person who seeks all-powerful directions, but he might like to explain with his usual expertise what that is all about. This is, after all, a Parliament.

At paragraph 4.3 of the Explanatory Memorandum, we have references to the nations and, not least, to Wales. How many likely carbon capture projects are mooted or in the pipeline for Wales, Scotland and England, not forgetting Northern Ireland? At paragraph 5.3, what is the department’s understanding of

“a reasonable return on investments”?

Is there a percentage in mind? Shall it not be a blank cheque? Can the Minister also explain further, for the uninitiated, what the “CCUS cluster” is at paragraph 5.5?

At paragraph 6.5, the department rightly points to “large upfront capital expenditure”. Can the Minister give a possible list of the scale of this up front? Surely there are in existence projects quite far down the line. I ask for the Minister to give his best guesstimate. At paragraph 5.9, it is welcome—to be very positive—that the public are to be made aware of deployment of a public register of projects. That has to be good.

Time is of the essence. I am aware that in north-east Wales, Connah’s Quay Power Station proposes carbon capture. This station is in the constituency that for 31 years one represented in another place. One visited regularly. It was once mooted for nuclear power, being on the substantial River Dee estuary. I emphasise that I have no registered interest whatever in raising this matter, but since I still live in the shadow of this establishment and have had a connection with it for the best part of 54 parliamentary years, I raise the matter. Currently the station is owned by a company called Uniper, about which I know very little. The company is briefing in the locality. I quote from the letter of invitation to visit for briefing. It is from a shrewd, practical managerial team that I encountered in response to its invitation.

Briefly, it says that it is

“developing plans for a new low-carbon, highly efficient gas-fired power station with carbon capture technology at the site … We expect to reuse an existing pipeline, which will connect to the regional CO2 infrastructure currently under development by Eni, enabling the captured CO2 to then be transported to permanent offshore storage facilities in repurposed depleted offshore gas fields”.

I visited this plant as a result of receiving that invitation for briefing and, on the face of it, the project seems to be very much related to these regulations. That is why I have quoted from that letter.

Lastly, if I may prevail once again upon the Minister, he surely might be able—by letter if not in this Committee—to tell me of his further plans for the great Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey. Will he also, helpfully and warmly, indicate that he has something up his sleeve for the now redundant Trawsfynydd power station that once generated nuclear power for the nation? If he cannot respond in terms under the chairmanship of the noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate, he might wish to write to me on any of the points that I have raised. I thank him again for his introduction of these regulations.

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Jones, spoke about a war on carbon. Of course, that is a war we should not be having to fight. The arrival of these regulations is an expression of failure over decades. We have continued to dig up and burn coal, oil and gas, and now, having done all that damage to the natural carbon capture and storage—the best possible form of it, which nature has done for us over hundreds of millions of years—we are trying to find a mechanism to undo some of that damage. Yet what we are doing here is establishing an expensive, top-down framework for a technology that does not yet exist at any scale and which, if successful, will create natural monopolies.

This novel industry has zero customers and no guarantee that there will be any in the future. It will be heavily dependent on the Government to adopt an energy and industrial strategy down a route that makes the carbon capture and storage industry possible. It is heavily centralised, risky and expensive, which must be contrasted with the decentralised, readily available and readily deployable technologies that exist as an alternative to CCS. What the Government are proposing with these regulations are huge subsidies for decades, in the hope that at some point there will be economic developments that will start to reduce the cost to the taxpayer. This means that our situation is a bit like the problem we have with incinerators, whereby we build incinerators with contracts to supply them with waste for decades and then have to generate the waste. The Government are really combining science fiction with dinosaur thinking here.

I feel some sympathy for the Minister, because these regulations have landed in your Lordships’ Committee in a rather unfortunate week. To quote the Energy Mix website, referring to the carbon capture and storage industry,

“Industry Navigates Very Bad Week”.

This article reflects two developments in Canada, where Capital Power has cancelled a 2.4 billion Canadian dollar carbon capture and storage project at its Genesee generating station, saying that it is “technically viable” but “not economically feasible”. It also reflects, as the Canadian national organisation Environmental Defence said,

“the latest failure in carbon capture’s terrible track record”.

This project had already received 5 million Canadian dollars from the Government of Alberta and was being set up for further tax breaks and support from both the federal and provincial Governments. It is just not working.

The other bad week to which the website referred concerned figures that have come out of Boundary Dam Unit 3, a project worth 1 billion Canadian dollars. It promised to capture 90% of the CO2 that was being generated but, in fact, its capture rate has been only 57%. This gives me a question to ask of the Minister—and perhaps of the Labour Front Bench—about the regulations before us and the Government’s plans: if there are contracts promising a certain rate of capture but that rate of capture is not met and they fail to deliver what is promised, with the potential to cause considerable damage in this new industry, what will be done? I note that the Toronto Globe and Mail is saying that there are

“continuing tensions between industry and the federal government about the extent to which public dollars will be used to provide”

for this industry.

With that in mind, I note the Minister’s comments in his introduction. I also note paragraph 5.10 of the Explanatory Memorandum to the directions, eligibility and counterparty regulations and paragraph 5.9 of the Explanatory Memorandum to the directions and counterparty regulations, both of which refer to the importance of information being deployed publicly, as well as the Minister’s comments about commercial confidentiality. In so many areas of public provision, we have seen real problems with people hiding behind a total lack of transparency arising from that coverall of commercial confidentiality. Can the Minister assure me that that will not happen in this case?

My Lords, I rise to speak to both of these SIs. I note that neither of them has been subject to any report by the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee.

Both SIs relate to carbon capture, usage and storage—CCUS—and are broadly welcomed on these Benches. I will not partake in any debate on CCUS today. It is a suite of technologies that enable the mitigation of carbon dioxide emissions from large point sources, such as power plants and refineries, and the removal of existing CO2 from the atmosphere. In short, CCUS is one vital tool in the toolbox to help us reach net zero.

The Government envisaged building a competitive, self-sustained CCUS market in the UK. I note that, as of today, no commercial-scale CCUS projects are up and running. CCUS could provide economic growth potential as part of the transition to net zero—£1 billion of government money has already been made available for investment in four potential clusters, which aim to be capable of storing 20 to 30 megatonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030—but CCUS has had a slow and slightly rough start in the UK.

The revenue, directions, eligibility and counterparty SI establishes the process by which the Secretary of State can direct a carbon capture counterparty to offer to contract with an eligible carbon capture entity. It also sets out the requirement that certain information must be published by the counterparty in respect of contracts entered into, as well as the requirement on the counterparty to notify the Secretary of State promptly if it is likely to be unable to perform its functions. This instrument concerns the implementation of industrial carbon capture business models, or ICCBMs—there must be a better acronym—which are intended to support the ambition set out in the net-zero strategy to deliver carbon capture, usage and storage, or CCUS, in four industrial clusters. The ICCBMs have been designed to incentivise the deployment of carbon capture technology by industrial and waste users who often have no viable alternative, as the Minister set out, and are similar to contract for difference schemes.

My questions on this SI relate to the future review and scrutiny of those contracts. As they are commercial contracts—I note that they are in the public domain, but some of this may not be made public—and are signed off by the Secretary of State, can the Minister explain what, if any, further parliamentary scrutiny there will be of these processes? These contracts are for new and in some cases yet unproven technologies, so how will value for money be ascertained and reported back to Parliament in future, especially given that the SI allows for the amendment of those contracts in future and no statutory review is envisaged? I welcome the response to the consultation and the changes, including the use of the term “energy recovery generating station” and around the exclusions and support.

Because of time, I will not go through all that the SI on carbon dioxide transport and storage does. It seeks to help establish first-of-the-kind infrastructure in the UK to transport and permanently store the carbon dioxide that has been captured. It provides Exchequer-funded revenue support to mitigate the financial risks of the initial investors. The investment in this infrastructure is welcome, and I recognise the need for it, but what level of financial support is envisaged at this stage? If none is required now but money is perhaps required at some later point, can I ask if and how Parliament might be consulted on that and what limits are in place on those future financial investments in this scheme? If more money goes in, how will that be reported and noted by Parliament?

My other questions relate to parliamentary oversight and scrutiny of the new types of technology and new contracts—what they are delivering and whether they are delivering value for money, how they are monitored and how Parliament gets future say in scrutiny of them.

Finally, in relation to both SIs, the process is delivered via commercial contracts, and both SIs allow for alterations and a requirement on the parties to inform the Secretary of State if the counterparty is unable, or likely to be unable, to fulfil its role as entered into. What, if any, dispute resolution mechanisms exist here between the department and the contractors? I am particularly interested in what legal dispute resolution mechanisms exist to give adequate oversight of this process to Parliament before any potential legal disputes end up in court.

I thank the Minister for his in-depth introduction to the two SIs that are before us today and for the comments we have heard so far. There will be some repetition in some of our concerns and questions.

I start by setting a bit of the context. I admire the ambition that is expressed, as we discussed during the passage of the Energy Act, recognising that this whole area is just one part of the toolkit in addressing the need to remove carbon from our industry. The Minister outlined the sheer scale of the proposals here, which involves going from 6 megatonnes in 2030 to 9 megatonnes in 2035, but I do not think he expressed what that will mean in terms of the infrastructure required to support the operations. I have to be honest that this Government have so far not had a great track record in delivering infrastructure across the piece, particularly transport infrastructure.

I would like to have a bit more sense, given the backlog in transport investment, of whether investment in this area will jump the queue, if you like, in the planned progress. Is there a plan? That is a question we come back to again and again in terms of delivering on this agenda. Of course, the other major issue around all this is the way the planning system works, or does not work. Can the Minister assure us that we can move forward with confidence in delivering a fairly steep timetable approaching 2025—next year? The clock is well and truly ticking.

Two things are referenced in the wider documentation around the two SIs. One relates to the green jobs plan. Will the Minister comment on how the plan as it is envisaged will deliver, particularly in this area around carbon capture and storage? There is also reference to an industry working group, which I understand from the information is due to be set up at some point this year. Can he tell us when it will be established, and indeed whether the membership thus far has been identified in terms of moving this very important work forward? I think there is also a wider concern about capacity. We have heard that the Secretary of State will take on a great deal of responsibility through these SIs and related work, but Ofgem will also have a significantly enhanced role in oversight—can we have more information about what the additional capacity will look like?

The consultation response is very well detailed, and I welcome the responses to it. I do not want to repeat everything that has been said, but, particularly in response to the additional oversight by the Secretary of State, when we are talking about the ability of the Secretary of State to modify the terms of contract offered, can the Minister give us a little more detail? Which scenarios would generate the Secretary of State considering providing written consent to the modification of the terms of the contract? These are the issues that my noble friend Lord Jones was pursuing. Obviously, the issue of transparency came back very strongly from the consultation. There were concerns around that in terms of establishing a public register, and I think the powers that the Secretary of State seems to have have caused some disquiet from the sector. There has been a request for opportunities for representations to be made around the published information about how decisions are being made. This is a concern that runs across all the responses.

Can we have a little bit more detail around the issues that the Minister believes may prevent a counterparty fulfilling its obligations? Obviously, there is talk in the impact assessment of the Energy Bill around asset stranding and CO2 leakage. Perhaps we could have a little more detail and information around that, and particularly on what steps the Secretary of State can take to replace a counterparty. These are matters that we will be looking at as we move forward.

As we know, the second SI on carbon capture revenue support has very similar issues; I do not want to repeat myself. Perhaps it would be useful, however, just to dwell on the consultation that took place on this and to have a bit more detail on the specific changes that resulted from that consultation, so that we can have them laid out in detail.

Perhaps the Minister could provide information on the adjustments to the policy, particularly in the light of the stakeholders’ responses to the six-week consultation. How will those adjustments ensure that the instruments meet their objectives? The Government need to be commended on the consultation that they undertook but, for it to be meaningful and useful, they need to give reassurance that these points will be picked up and woven into the response.

With those comments, I look forward to the Minister summing up.

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords for their contributions. Before I get into the detail on particular questions, I will talk about the general issue, particularly as raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett, of CCUS and the principle. Obviously, that was a Second Reading speech for the legislation rather than for this particular statutory instrument, but let me explain why I think the noble Baroness is both misinformed and wrong.

First, most informed opinion disagrees with the noble Baroness on this, including the Climate Change Committee, which told us in its advice that CCUS is essential and not an option if we are to reach our decarbonisation goals. She said many other things that were incorrect. To take an example, she said that CCUS had never been tried and was unproven. Again, that is incorrect. There are many operating CCUS plants in the US. I witnessed one in Alberta, Canada, last year and, only last week, I was in Iceland to see the opening of the largest direct air capture greenhouse-gas removal plant in the world. It has an operating CO2 ejection system into the basalt rock, which has been working successfully for many years.

So, the technology does work and is proven. We are attempting it at a greater scale than many other countries, but that is a fantastic business opportunity for the UK. We are privileged to have fantastic, tremendous storage potential in the North Sea, where we can store not only our own emissions but possibly those produced by other nations and Europe as well. This has the potential to be a massive revenue earner for the UK, generating potentially tens of thousands of jobs and millions of pounds of contributions. There are a number—dozens—of really innovative UK companies that are experimenting and working in this area. There is great export potential for the UK, and potentially many jobs—or rather, there are hundreds of jobs already.

I can understand the noble Baroness’s point—and I agree with her—that we should seek to minimise emissions as much as possible by processes such as fuel switching. But what would she say to those industrial plants that generate CO2 as part of their processes rather than by heating? What about cement plants, for instance? Does she think that they should just close down? Should they not exist at all? These are the practical issues that, when dealing with policies that affect people’s jobs and livelihoods in the construction sector, we need to have a solution for rather than just airy-fairy academic views. As the CCC said, CCUS will be essential and is not an option. If the noble Baroness wants to make a point, I will be happy to hear it.

I am not sure whether this is procedurally correct, but the Minister directed the question directly at me. Once we set up these CCUS plants and establish the contracts, as I said with reference to incinerators, we will need to feed them, whereas, if we look at different technologies that are being developed for cement, for steel or electric arc furnaces and so on, the point is to—as the noble Baroness, Lady Blake, said—have a transport modal shift. We need to plan for the shift in operations—in ways of doing things—rather than business as usual.

To address the point about the Climate Change Committee, we come back to the issues around growth and the assumption that we must have economic growth. If we look at social innovation and changing the way in which our society works, we are looking at a very different model for the future than is traditionally presented.

The noble Baroness is addressing issues that I never even raised. Her last point is for a completely different debate. Nobody is suggesting CCUS for transport emissions or steel emissions. Again, the noble Baroness is evading the central issue. Some industries have no choice but to produce CO2. Anyway, it is a separate issue—let us get back to the debate that we are here for today.

These two instruments are broadly administrative in nature but outline vital operational procedures to enable the Government’s proposed business models for carbon capture, transport and storage. I start with the issues raised by the noble Lord, Lord Jones, who asked for the directions of the counterparty and the register to be explained further. In relation to a direction to the counterparty, the counterparty would enter into and manage contracts at the direction of the Secretary of State and would be the conduit for HMG funding to successful projects. A direction to the counterparty would be a direction to offer to enter into a revenue support contract. The register would be a public register of contracts entered into, and the details that the counterparty would be required to publish are set out in the schedules to the regulations.

The noble Lord, Lord Jones, and the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett, asked about confidentiality. It is appropriate for companies to be able to protect commercially sensitive or privileged information—for example, information that relates to a company’s intellectual property. We expect redactions to be made to published contract information only when there is strong justification for doing so. Any redactions or exclusions in the contract do not, of course, limit what information must be disclosed in that public register.

The noble Lord, Lord Jones, asked for a definition of “cluster”. We would define it as carbon capture projects, onshore and offshore pipeline infrastructure, transport infrastructure and the associated offshore storage site, all located in a defined geographical area. We have two in the so-called track 1 process in the UK: one is the HyNet consortium in the north-west and Wales, and the other is on the east coast and is centred around Teesside and, to a certain extent, Humberside. There are two additional ones in Scotland as well as the Viking consortium, which will be in the so-called track 2 process.

The noble Lord, Lord Jones, asked about funding for CCUS, and the geography. We have announced up to £20 billion of funding for the early deployment of CCUS in the UK and, as I have just said, we aim to establish up to four clusters in the UK by 2030. The noble Lord might be a little more interested in the details of the projects of the HyNet consortium, which is located in north-west England and Wales. From memory, there is one project in Wales; it is at the Padeswood cement plant, which we are negotiating with at the moment. I think I am correct in saying that that is the one. We are currently in negotiations on eight projects and transport storage systems in total across the two clusters. We hope to reach final investment decisions by the third quarter of this year for the rollout and deployment of this technology. We have announced those first two clusters and the track1 negotiation list with, as I have said, eight projects selected through the cluster-sequencing projects to progress to negotiations by—I hope—the third quarter.

In addition, we announced two further clusters in July last year: the Acorn cluster in Scotland and Viking in Humberside. Again, those will be two additional T&S systems. We think that, after the first two, they will be best placed to deliver on our objectives—again, subject to appropriate due diligence, consenting, subsidy control, affordability and value-for-money assessments.

The noble Lord, Lord Jones, asked what the department’s understanding is of a reasonable return on investment. I would say that that is the six million dollar question, but it is probably a bit more than that. Of course, this is subject to ongoing contract commercial discussions with the relevant projects. The noble Lord can be assured that we are subjecting all the negotiations to precise considerations on value for money, subsidy control and affordability. As an indication of the scale of support, we have announced up to £20 billion for the early deployment of CCUS in the UK.

The noble Earl, Lord Russell, raised the issue of public scrutiny of contracts. As set out in the regulations, once entered into, revenue support contracts will be published by the counterparty to ensure transparency. As yet, no contracts have been entered into. Before the Government make any infrastructure investment decision, strict criteria on value for money, affordability and deliverability must be met.

The noble Baroness, Lady Bennett, asked what will happen if contract holders promise a certain rate of capture but do not meet it. Revenue support contracts will include requirements on contract holders as a condition for receiving support, and there will be contractual consequences for any non-compliance.

The noble Baroness made the point that the Government have been promising subsidy and continued government support in other jurisdictions for decades. The purpose of the RSA is to overcome market barriers to the deployment of this first-of-a-kind transport and storage infrastructure. On long-term support for the sector, Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage: A Vision to Establish a Competitive Market outlines our ultimate long-term vision for the sector and establishes a transition to what we hope will be a market and industry-led CCUS sector in the UK, ultimately financed through the emissions trading system and the value of putting a cost on carbon. I recommend that the noble Baroness has a look at that published vision, which sets out what we think are the critical next steps to enable the transition to a commercial and competitive market, ultimately free, I hope, of government subsidy.

The noble Baroness, Lady Blake, asked for more information about the additional capacity needed to deliver this proposal, including among other stakeholders. She made an important point. One of my roles in the department is as co-chairman of the CCUS industry delivery task force, where the Government, regulators and industry sit down to do precisely the planning and discussion that the noble Baroness outlined. But it is a huge undertaking. She is right that planning is an important part of it, but the consenting procedures are well established, in terms of the safety considerations. The various regulators are involved, including the HSE and the North Sea Transition Authority, which is the licensing authority for CCUS stores—and, of course, the planning process for the delivery and construction of pipelines, capture plants and so on, are all subject to the normal planning process, either with local authorities or nationally through the DCO process.

The noble Earl, Lord Russell, asked about the level of financial support. I mentioned the £20 billion for early deployment, and we are currently negotiating those contracts. He asked how value for money will be delivered and reported back to Parliament and he advanced a statutory review. Before we make any infrastructure investment decisions, strict criteria on value for money, affordability and deliverability must be met. The noble Earl asked about dispute resolution mechanisms, when the counterparty cannot perform its function. The revenue support contracts include appropriate dispute resolution mechanisms when appropriate, with contractual consequences for non-delivery.

The noble Baroness, Lady Blake, asked about the ability of the Secretary of State to provide oversight of modification of contracts, and in what scenario the Secretary of State would consent to modification of a contract after a direction is made. The answer to her question is that the provisions follow arrangements similar to those under the existing CfD regime for the deployment of offshore wind and so on, and are there just to account for the fairly unlikely scenarios in which contract modifications may be appropriate.

I hope that I have been able to answer all the questions that were put to me. As I said, the whole CCUS industry represents a tremendous opportunity for the UK. We estimate that potentially we have 78 gigatonnes of CO2 storage capacity in the UK continental shelf. Industrial carbon capture will play a vital role in fulfilling our ambitions in this area, taking us towards net zero, transforming our many industrial regions and, as I mentioned at the start, creating new high-value jobs in what will be an emerging technology, not just in this country and Europe but across the world.

I commend these draft regulations to the Committee.

Motion agreed.