Reporting from the EU2030 Energy Union and Carbon Capture Journal “Keeping CCS Moving” meeting

UKCCSRC Coordination Group member and Research Area Champion for Storage Assessment Stuart Haszeldine was an invited speaker at the Carbon Capture Journal meeting on 25 February 2015 at the press centre in Brussels. This was attended by about 40 delegates from around Europe, with a strong emphasis from the UK. Here he reports and shares his thoughts on the day.

The mood of the conference was strangely optimistic, although there were seldom serious challenges to speakers from the audience. Jude Kirton Darling MEP presented on the opportunities for CCS related to industry and job preservation in Europe. Ilinca Balan from DG energy presented on the regulatory and legislative position of CCS, and its evolution from the EU SET Plan to the EU2030 Energy Union. CCS has been mentioned by the European Council of Ministers, but barely features in the EU2030 Energy Union plans, announced on the day of this conference. Marzena Gurgul from PGE gave a summary of the Belchatow project and its failure due to lack of government and finance support. Stuart Haszeldine (SCCS) summarised the position of emerging global development, contrasting with lack of EU success, and recommended a combination of capital grant plus feed in tariff, as has been successfully used for renewables. The importance of industrial job retention, and the use of shipping and CO2-EOR could be important regional drivers. Karen Callebaut (Antwerp) presented summaries of the reports and work undertaken to position Antwerp as a CCS hub. Giacomo Valentini (consultant) explained why CCS is struggling, due to a totally uncoordinated industrial position and a perception of continuing old-style business. Joop Lohuis (Ecofys) explained the Netherlands’ strategic planning for CCS, the role of Rotterdam, and potential CCUtilisation in the short term and the need for a long-term vision, supported by NL government. Theo Mitchell (CCSA) explained thoroughly and in detail the history of CCS policies in Europe, the position of the recent Directive review, and a forward-look to strategies relating future activity to EU-ETS review and UNFCCC, and the overriding need for a European strategy on CCS. Emrah Durusut (Element Energy) summarised past Element work on CCS economics around the North Sea, and gave insights into current work for the Crown Estates about clustering of capture, leading to clustered storage regions offshore of the UK. Jelena Simjanovic (GCCSI) presented summaries of EU versus global positions. Rex Gaisford (independent) explained his reasoning for developing a strategic plan to engage CCS directly on fossil carbon extraction, rather than emissions. Simon Bennet (IEA) explained the backdrop of CCS actions, and the importance of engaging China into the future. A new narrative is needed so that CCS emerges from strong climate policy, and is scaled up.


EU EnergyUnion 2013

On the same day as this meeting, the European Parliament released its strategy for energy in Europe looking forward to 2030. This is now predicated around the energy union, and has pillars on security of supply, gas interconnection, and electricity interconnection. There is strong action to be taken on energy efficiency, and on maintaining a push towards renewables. The expectation is that the EU ETS will remain the primary instrument to provide price incentives for de-carbonisation including CCS. In this statement, CCS barely features, and is relegated to research and innovation –

Although important progress has been made in improving the effectiveness of Europe’s research programmes, much more can be done. We are still a long way from fully coordinated and focussed research, effectively combining EU and Member State programmes around common goals and deliverables. If we are to achieve our aims, we must get the maximum possible results from every Euro invested across the whole EU.

This means taking an integrated approach to create synergies; working together to coordinate efforts and deliver results; ensuring more effective links between research and industry and thereby bringing new technologies to the market in the EU. To achieve this, the new European energy R&I approach should accelerate energy system transformation. This should build on Horizon 2020 and involve all Member States, stakeholders and the Commission.

Actions should be grouped around the following four core priorities, to which Member States and the Commission would commit:

– Being the world leader in developing the next generation of renewable energy technologies, including environment-friendly production and use of biomass and biofuels, together with energy storage;

– Facilitating the participation of consumers in the energy transition through smart grids, smart home appliances, smart cities, and home automation systems;

– Efficient energy systems, and harnessing technology to make the building stock energy neutral, and

– More sustainable transport systems that develop and deploy at large scale innovative technologies and services to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

On top of these four common priorities, there are additional research priorities which merit a much greater level of collaboration between the Commission and those Member States who want to use these technologies:

– A forward-looking approach to carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon capture and use (CCU) for the power and industrial sectors, which will be critical to reaching the 2050 climate objectives in a cost-effective way. This will require an enabling policy framework, including a reform of the Emissions Trading System and the new Innovation Fund, to increase business and investor clarity, which is needed to further develop this technology.

– Nuclear energy presently produces nearly 30% of the EU’s electricity. The EU must ensure that Member States use the highest standards of safety, security, waste management and non-proliferation. The EU should also ensure that it maintains technological leadership in the nuclear domain, including through ITER30, so as not to increase energy and technology dependence.


As a personal interpretation of this language, I comment that this seems to mean:

We recognised CCS in a few lines at the Council of Ministers conclusions last year in 2014.  So we are not rejecting it outright, but there are plenty of other things on our mind………

1) We are not going to fund any commercial CCS projects, as they cost a lot

2) CCUS will somehow make CCS less expensive or profitable, and that’s not oil, so its good

3) The EU-ETS will fund CCS rollout, when it’s ready, maybe after 2035

4) CCS in the EU is demoted to R&I, in spite of being built elsewhere, and the NER400 may part fund 1 or 2 of these

5) The UK is on its own.