Brussels, 29 June, 2023
Net-Zero Industry Act - An Opportunity
Dear EU Heads of Government,
EU climate policy has a major weakness which must be addressed if it is to be credible. The support of your government is needed to achieve this.
Regardless of how much renewable electricity or hydrogen may become available in future, some carbon emissions from industrial processes cannot be avoided. The use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies is essential if the release of CO2 into the atmosphere is to be prevented from many hard-to-abate industrial sectors. These include the manufacture of lime, cement, chemicals and some steel production, together with various other energy- intensive manufacturing and waste-to-energy plants.
The EU’s net-zero ambition recognises that it will not be possible to avoid the release of all greenhouse gases by 2050. to, as well as curbing emissions, the capture and permanent removal of COz from biogenic sources has an essential role to play in reducing the concentration of CO2already in the atmosphere.
Put simply, without widespread deployment of CCS the EU cannot achieve its net-zero goal.
Development of the entire CCS value chain, including CO2 capture technologies, transport and storage, will be needed to acheve the EU’s climate goals and to support Europe’s technological leadership. Sites for permanent CO2 storage, and the associated infrastructure, must be made available as soon as possible to encourage emitters to invest in capture facilities.
CCS Europe, the coalition on whose behalf I am writing, includes industrial companies, business associations and environmental NGOs amongst its members. It is clear to us that too few Member States recognise the need to develop national CCS deployment strategies. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has said that the EU will need to be storing 300 million tonnes of COz annually by 2050. At present, no commercial storage sites in operation, but the Commission has proposed in its Net-Zero Industry Act that storage capacity of 50 million tonnes annually should be made available by 2030.
The increase in the cost of ETS allowances, the pending withdrawal of free allowances, and access to EU funding programmes and national support schemes will all help to develop the business case for investment in CO2 capture. The provision of sites for permanent CO2 storage on a non-discriminatory and competitive basis is technically realistic and will remove the greatest obstruction to CCS deployment.
However, additional arrangements must also be made for COz transportation. CCS Europe urges all Member States to promote the development of a CO2 transport infrastructure that in time will grow to serve European industry on an extensive basis.
It is essential that every Member State identifies the requirements of its industry in order to secure emission reductions on the scale needed. Widespread deployment of CCS technologies will prove essential to the achievement of the net-zero ambition.
The Commission’s proposals within the Net-Zero Industry Act deserve the support of your government. We strongly encourage you to complement a Europe-wide approach with the promotion of national strategies to secure the capture and permanent storage of CO2 from industries that will have no choice but to release it into the atmosphere.
Director, CCS Europe