CCS in the UK energy landscape – Cambridge Biannual Plenary Session with Prof Jim Skea and Prof Jim Watson

Written by Carolina Font Palma (Research Fellow, University of Leeds), who attended the UKCCSRC Biannual meeting with the support of the UKCCSRC ECR meeting fund.

The presentations were part of the first plenary session focused on the UK energy landscape within the context of CCS at the UKCCSRC Biannual Meeting – CCS in the Bigger Picture – held in Cambridge 2-3 April 2014.

Jim Skea is RCUK Energy Strategy Fellow and Professor of Sustainable Energy at Imperial College. He presented CCS and the wider energy innovation picture. The speaker reported the main results conducted under the RCUK Energy Strategy Fellowship. It involved an analysis of the roadmap of research, skills and training on CCS and energy sector. The project also involved running workshops on fossil fuels and CCS, bioenergy, Energy in the House, etc. He recommended a single Energy Programme budget and pointed out a need for stronger data sharing policies. He showed a categorised list of centres focused on the different energy sectors and that the UKCCSRC is a strong centre of excellence, along with Supergen Bioenergy Hub and UK Nuclear Universities consortium.

Jim Watson is Research Director of the UK Energy Research Centre and Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Sussex. He presented CCS in an uncertain energy policy landscape. His presentation focused on findings from the project ‘Energy Strategies under uncertainty’. The project involved analysing the range and nature of risks and uncertainties facing the UK on low carbon plans. As point of reference, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) 4th carbon budget was revised and focused on CCC pathway elements, such as heat, power generation and electric vehicles. The speaker also talked about the implications for CCS deployment in the UK, and highlighted some: higher risk than for other low carbon technologies, vulnerable to natural resource availability uncertainties, and decarbonisation depends largely on costs.

The session ended with great participation from the audience, the speakers and chairman (Myles Allen, University of Oxford). The debate started with a question about making regulations to force the way to decarbonisation as analogue to the ozone and acid rain previous global issues.

A concluding personal note is that it was a fantastic experience and I would like to encourage ECRs to attend one of the next meetings.