Scotland ready for carbon capture
Scotland has the storage capacity, the natural resources, the technology and ambition to become Europe's leader in carbon capture and storage, First Minister Alex Salmond said today.
The First Minister was speaking at Edinburgh Castle where he was joined by energy companies and leading academics for the publication of Opportunities for CO2 Storage Around Scotland, the first comprehensive study of carbon capture and storage (CCS) to be undertaken in the UK.
Key findings of the study, which was achieved by a collaborative partnership between the Scottish Government and partners from across the industry, research universities and institutes, conclude:
- Scotland has the ability to safely accommodate industrial emissions generated in Scotland and North East of England for the next 200 years
- Scotland's offshore storage capacity for carbon emissions is greater than the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany combined
- There are real economic opportunities in developing storage hubs and pipeline networks for Europe
- There is a need to fund CCS demonstration using EU and other funding
Mr Salmond said:
"Our ambition is to become a world leader in reducing harmful emissions and producing clean, green energy as part of our contribution to tackling climate change. Today's publication of this groundbreaking report takes us a significant step closer to realising that ambition.
"This report, a unique collaboration between a range of partners from business, universities and research facilities, signals a milestone in Scotland's energy policy. It is evident from our wealth of natural resources that we have a competitive and comparative advantage both in terms of renewable energy and carbon capture.
"The conclusions of this study underline just how vast Scotland's potential in CCS is - we have the capacity to capture safely and store emissions from industrial coal-fired plants for the next 200 years. The potential Scottish capacity is of European significance, comparable with that of offshore Norway, and greater than Netherlands, Denmark and Germany combined.
"And the benefits go far beyond our environment. Electricity generated in Scottish power stations which are fitted with carbon capture technology will be comparable in price to energy generation using other low-carbon technology. The development of CCS in Scotland, including power stations and storage networks, has the potential to support 10,000 jobs.
"The UK Government's announcement last week about plans to establish four carbon capture demonstration projects in the UK is welcome. Scotland is ready now to lead on one or hopefully even two of these projects. I also want to see early action on demonstrating storage of CO2 offshore from Scotland using existing oil and gas infrastructure.
"The environmental and economical benefits of CCS are as vast as our potential. Today signals a new chapter in the development of CCS. Scotland can be a world leader in this technology of the future and the Scottish Government will work with the UK Government, EU, business, research and academics to ensure we fully capitalise on Scotland's potential."
Stuart Haszeldine, Professor of Sedimentary Geology at the University of Edinburgh, said:
"Output of CO2 is now widely established as one of the chief contributors to climate change and ocean acidification. Carbon dioxide capture and geological storage has the potential to play a critical role in rapidly reducing the worst effects. The information gathered in this study tells us where the challenges are with CO2 storage. Now we have to take the first big steps on the path to emission reductions."
Carbon capture & storage technology has the potential to reduce emissions associated with power stations by up to 90 per cent.
In 2006, approximately 18Mt of CO2 (41 per cent of Scotland's total carbon emissions) was produced by Scotland's three largest power stations. CCS therefore has the potential to make significant emissions reductions.
The Committee on Climate Change has recommended that in order to meet our climate change target of 80 per cent reduction in GHG emissions by 2050, the electricity generation sector will need to be decarbonised by 2030. CCS will have a vital role to play in this effort, along with our substantial increase in renewable energy.
The Scottish Government will next week bring its world leading Climate Change Bill before Parliament. This Government has taken the bold decision to include all six Greenhouse gases and emissions from international aviation and shipping within an ambitious 80 per cent reduction target. We are also setting rigorous annual targets to ensure that the Government now and in the future is held to account.
CCS will be a key global tool in the fight against climate change, given that some 40 per cent of global emissions are associated with coal, and it is particularly important in the USA, China and India.
According to the International Energy Agency, CCS can contribute around 20 per cent of the global cut in emissions necessary to avert dangerous climate change, comparable to renewables at 21 per cent, and vastly more than nuclear at 6 per cent (Source: IEA (2008) Energy Technology Perspectives - scenarios and strategies to 2050, OECD/IEA, Paris).