CCS Europe Roadshow in Madrid: One for the books

CCS Europe Roadshow in Madrid: One for the books

On 24 June, we hosted our second national roadshow, “CCS and Spain: Unlocking the Path to Net-zero”, this time travelling to Madrid.

For a full day, we had the pleasure to listen to the thought provoking and insightful reflections of key actors from the CCS landscape on what is needed to make it a reality in Spain (and beyond). Aimed at raising awareness for the importance of CCS technology in reaching carbon neutrality and the need to integrate relevant provisions in national policy, our roadshow in Madrid attracted an audience of 60 and brought together industry, policy and civil society stakeholders.

CCS supporters in Spain praised CCS Europe for our efforts to impress upon Spanish policymakers the need to make concrete and actionable commitments for Carbon Capture and Storage in the Spanish national climate policy. Unfortunately, the level of interest that has been shown on the technology before now has been lacklustre to say the least. There’s no clearer proof of this than the failure (or unwillingness) of the Spanish government to provide the European Commission with even the most basic information relevant to CCS in the country’s draft National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPS). For proponents of CCS in Spain the ground has not been fertile, but maybe change is coming.

The government has put great effort into promoting renewables, emphasising the future use of electricity. It hasn’t wanted industry to take the “easy” option of decarbonising by capturing and storing its CO2. A noble effort certainly, but it falls sort of the complex reality of achieving net-zero in time to mitigate the impending climate catastrophe. Process emissions need to be captured. Removing CO2 already in the atmosphere requires it to be captured and stored. There’s no way around it.

There could be plenty of onshore locations in the country where CO2 storage would be geologically secure, and companies like Repsol are already making the first steps to explore offshore storage. Support for the technology by governments elsewhere, including the backing it now has from Green politicians in Germany, surely must communicate a message to doubters everywhere.

The cement and lime industries in Spain are arguing their case, channelling some of their efforts through PTECO2, the country’s CCS advocacy body. The largest political party, the Partido Popular, is supportive, and at our event we were joined by Sanchez Perez, the spokesperson for ecological transition. The governing PSOE has been much more reserved, but there is no time for political and ideological bickering over the role CCS can play for our shared climate ambitions. The European Commission (and also importantly the science) is clear. We need CCS if we are to reach net-zero by 2050.

Spain has a long way to go, but with political willingness and an open, transparent and honest conversation with the public on CCS technology, net-zero can remain firmly in sight. Lets make sure it happens.