Carbon capture and storage (CCS)
The Committee on Climate Change released a document early in 2019 on the UK’s contribution to stopping global warming. In it there were a number of recommendations, namely that it was necessary, feasible and cost effective to reach ‘net zero.’ It is necessary to prevent the effects of climate change to the planet, feasible as it is deemed that the technologies are available and can be implemented with the support of government policy, and cost effective, because falls in the costs of key technologies allow a lower carbon future with the ‘same costs as that were accepted as the likely costs’ by the government in 2008 when the 2050 target for an 80% reduction in emissions was set.
As our latest Energy Transition Outlook (eto.dnvgl.com/2020) shows, we believe that gas and variable renewables will be the only energy sources for which demand is higher in 2050 than today. However, they must work together, alongside greater uptake of CCS to secure a rapid energy transition.
For CCS to be developed successfully at scale, it is critical not only that appropriate business models are put in place, but also that major incidents are avoided through careful design, assessment and verification of new and adapted CCS infrastructure. Many CCS pilot and demonstration facilities have been successfully implemented, but a number of proposed projects in various countries have failed to progress, or have encountered strong local opposition due to concerns over the consequences of a loss of containment. We cannot assume that this will not happen in the UK. Reuse of existing infrastructure has been much debated, BEIS recently issued a consultation paper on this topic, and DNV GL has taken a view on this. You can read our white paper, see below.
We now have a great opportunity to use biogases, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS) to transform the gas system in the UK into a zero-carbon energy provider, linking more effectively with the electricity system to make the best use of our growing renewable resources. But as we decarbonise every aspect of how we produce, transport and use gaseous energy, we need to make sure that it is done safely, efficiently and economically.