Carbon capture and storage deployment in the UK: what next after the UK Government’s competition?

In November 2007, the UK Government set the direction for initial commercial-scale demonstration of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the UK. It announced the rules for a competition to identify a demonstration of post-combustion capture project at a pulverized coal power plant, linked to a full chain of CCS, including carbon dioxide transport to an offshore storage site. Because there are several options for further demonstration and initial deployment projects to build on this initial effort, the UK Government will need to decide its priorities for CCS deployment. Regardless of the route, a successful transition to widespread use of CCS would have to overcome significant technical, commercial, regulatory, and political challenges. This article considers the significance of understanding and using lessons learned from previous major UK energy sector transitions to manage the development, demonstration, and deployment of CCS. The past transitions considered here are not perfect analogies, but they do suggest a range of potential futures for CCS deployment in the UK. They also provide insights into possible drivers and triggers for deployment and the general business environment required for a successful transition to widespread commercial use of CCS in the UK.