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How can communications help increase momentum on commercialisation of CCS?

Written by Kira Scharwey, Account Director, Energy Practice

It’s been quite a month for the global carbon capture industry. A welcome change following a slowdown in progress from political and economic barriers over the last few years.

This time last year, I said the UK would be missing a window of opportunity if we didn’t see any progress soon on CCS, so I’ve been very happy to see the Government’s renewed focus on CCS and hydrogen since.

In May we saw some major pieces of news in this space from across the world:

  • The Norwegian government re-committing to fund CCS after a change in government led to a 61% cut in the country’s overall CCS budget for 2018
  • Announcement from Drax that it would pilot the first bioenergy carbon capture storage (BECCS) project of its kind in Europe, partnering with Leeds-based C-Capture. Renewed commitment to CCS from a company of Drax’s size – after pulling out of the White Rose CCS project in 2015 due to policy uncertainty – is very positive news.
  • US-based NET Power passing a technical milestone – a step closer to demonstrating that carbon capture can work economically at commercial scale. The company is eying the UK for future plants. This is a technology the UK Government has been very interested in as they expect to eventually beat the costs of standard natural-gas plants – approx. £60 per MWh in the UK.

This is all likely to add to increasing Government’s support for the sector – commitments from countries like Norway and UK help reduce cost and risk, as well as foster international collaboration and innovation.

But it’s not time for industry players to get complacent. There is plenty to do.

Continued engagement with BEIS, HMT and No 10 is crucial to influencing how CCS will be financed and deployed, and ultimately help secure Government’s long-term commitment to the industry.

The BEIS Select Committee has established an inquiry examining the Government’s commitment to deploying the technology and whether it has a ‘plan B’ to meet the UK’s climate change targets if cost reductions don’t materialise. This is an important opportunity for industry to influence the Committee’s recommendations to Government, and short written submissions can be made to the inquiry until 22nd June.

Strong communication with a compelling proposition around value for money and clean growth opportunities will be key for industry to make the most out of these opportunities. Now is the time for the CCS industry to be seizing the initiative to communicate what policy needs to look like to make large-scale CCS a reality in the future.

If you are engaged in CCS, hydrogen and the low carbon economy, and have a communications issue to solve, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me over email, LinkedIn or contact Madano’s Energy Practice directly.