Spanish Presidency challenges Commission on CCS
Commission plans to accelerate deployment of carbon capture and storage technology will be challenged by the Spanish Presidency at a meeting of government representatives on Monday, 10 July.
The Net-Zero Industry Act says that the EU must capture 550m tonnes of CO2 annually by 2050, much of it for permanent storage, and calls for a target of 50Mt of storage capacity to be made available by 2030. It requires oil and gas operators to create the storage sites at offshore locations where fossil fuels have already been extracted. CO2 storage sites currently exist in Norway but there are none in operation within the Union.
As Director Chris Davies points out: “Heads of Government recognised 16 years ago that CCS would be needed to help curb CO2 emissions. The time to promote widespread deployment of the technology is long overdue, but the setting of a specific target for CO2 injection capacity will help provide the political momentum to achieve this".
The Commission argues that industry will not construct CO2 capture plants to curb its emissions unless storage sites are available, and these should be in sufficient numbers to promote competition and deter monopolistic practices.
“Without widespread deployment of CCS the net-zero emissions target cannot be achieved", Director Chris Davies commented.
In a Presidency Discussion Paper, Spain challenges the setting of a target and the obligation on oil and gas companies to meet it. Spain seeks also to limit any use of CCS to hard-to-abate sectors like cement production. This would mean, for example, that it would become impossible for a Member State to build a gas power station to supplement renewables even if its CO2 was captured, or to obtain hydrogen other than from electrolysis.
“It is very disappointing that the Spanish Presidency should seek to frustrate measures that are essential if a significant reduction in CO2 emissions from industrial sources is to be achieved.”
A final investment decision was taken in Denmark on 30 May to construct a CCS facility intended to capture 430,000 tonnes of CO2 annually by 2026 – the first such FID within the Union. French ministers have just published a draft strategy to capture up to 8 Mt tonnes of CO2 from major industrial emitters by 2030. By contrast, the recently published Spanish draft NECP (National Energy and Climate Plan) sets no target for CCS deployment.