No role for conventional coal beyond 2020s say CCC – 23 April 2009

The Government today responded to proposals by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on conditionality that should be attached to investment in any new coal fired power stations.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Milliband, announced that the building of new coal fired power stations will only be approved if these are part fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)  technology.

The Government will also consult on whether there should be a strict emissions limit for any plant that is not retrofitted.

This announcement follows a statement in the budget that the Government will mobilise funding for at least 2 and up to 4 CCS demonstration projects.

In responding to the announcement, Chair of the CCC, Lord Turner said:

“We welcome the Government’s proposals, which are consistent with the recommendations in our December report.

In particular, we welcome the commitment that any new coal plants should demonstrate CCS, and should be fully retrofitted with CCS once the technology has been demonstrated. These proposals are a very positive contribution to required decarbonisation of UK power generation in the period to 2030.

We were clear in our report that there can be no role for conventional coal generation in the UK beyond the early 2020s. This should be reflected by a very tight emissions limit being placed on any non-retrofitted plant beyond the early 2020s. We will work with the Government to ensure that the detailed proposal to be set out later in the year includes a tight emissions limit.”

Notes to Editors:
Committee on Climate Change (CCC)

The CCC is an independent body established under the Climate Change Act to advise the
Government on setting the first legally binding carbon budgets, and to report to Parliament on the progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The CCC also advises on what the UK’s long-term climate change target should be as a fair contribution towards a global deal www.theccc.org.uk/

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

  • CCS is a technology which involves capturing the carbon dioxide emitted from burning fossil fuels, transporting it and storing it in secure spaces such as geological formations, including old oil and gas fields and aquifers under the seabed.
  • Decarbonisation of the power sector is key to achieving emission reduction targets of 34% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.
  • According to CCC research, the power sector can almost be completely decarbonised by 2030 in order to contribute to meeting the 2050 greenhouse gas reduction target.
  • This could be done through the use of cleaner forms of generating electricity e.g. nuclear, renewables and CCS.
  • Power sector emissions reductions of 40% below 1990 levels are realistically achievable by 2020, according to the CCC’s report.

CCC Reports

  • Building a low-carbon economy, the CCC’s first report, sets out the analysis underpinning the recommendation that the UK should reduce emissions of all greenhouse gases by at least 80% by 2050. It also proposes the level of the first three carbon budgets covering the periods 2008-12, 2013-17 and 2018-22.
  • In September, the CCC will publish its first progress report which will set out a roadmap for building a low-carbon economy in the UK. This will look in more detail at the specific policies that are required to produce clean electricity, improve the energy efficiency of homes and promote more sustainable forms of transport.

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