Competitiveness and Growth WP MEETING – JULY 10
RE: Presidency Discussion Paper
Allow me on behalf of CCS Europe to respond to the Presidency paper recently circulated which questions the Commission’s proposals relating to CCS in the Net-Zero Industry Act.
The Commission estimates that the Union could need to capture up to 550 million tonnes of CO2 annually by 2050 to meet the net-zero objective (Recital 14). Much of this must be removed for permanent underground storage. If the Presidency disagrees with this assessment it should present evidence as to how the objective will otherwise be met.
It is more than 16 years since the European Council agreed in March 2007 that CCS would be needed to help curb CO2 emissions. The time is long overdue for the Council to make this a reality. The adoption of the technology will not take place in the absence of regulatory drive, or, at least, not at the pace required.
A target of 50Mt storage capacity by 2030 is modest (Denmark alone is proposing having 52Mt capacity available by 2032), and a quick start is needed. A specific target for CO2 injection capacity will provide the political momentum required to secure this, improve the business case for carbon capture investments, and make CCS a reality, in Europe. It is known that there is great potential for offshore storage sites in the North Sea, Black Sea, Adriatic, and the Mediterranean. It is true that provision must be made for many other sites across Europe, and we note that the French and Danish Governments are both investigating the possibility of onshore storage, but speed is of the essence if development costs are to be brought down for the benefit of all. The argument that the geographical spread in the first phase is insufficient should not be used to frustrate progress. The perfect is the enemy of the good.
CCS Europe believes that the deployment of CCS technology is essential if emissions are to be reduced from hard-to-abate and energy-intensive industrial sectors. There is no merit in forbidding Member States from making use of CCS to reduce emissions from other sectors. EU targets for CO2 storage are required but within them, Member States should be free to determine how best nationally to achieve the net-zero objective. To materialise this objective, it will be critical to have enough licensing rounds and establish appropriate funding and de-risking mechanisms.
The end of May saw in Denmark the first Final Investment Decision taken within the Union for a full-chain CCS project, one that intends to capture 430,000 tons of CO2 annually within three years. We look forward to similar progress being announced in the Netherlands shortly.
The past few days we have seen the publication of Spain’s draft NECP and of the French Government’s CCUS Strategy. We just hope that in upcoming NECP revisions, Spain can in practical ways acknowledge the need for a CCS strategy by setting targets and proposing support mechanisms, if the net-zero emission target is to be achieved. By contrast, we welcome the latter, which makes clear that deployment of CCS/CCUS is essential, proposes CO2 capture targets for 2030 and 2050, a financial support mechanism, and extensive investigation of national storage sites.
We hope that other Member States will adopt a similar approach to that in Denmark, the Netherlands, and France, and we urge you to respond to the Presidency paper by stressing the need to take all steps necessary to accelerate widespread CCS deployment.
Director, CCS Europe