European Union needs to increase investment in carbon capture and storage to meet its climate change targets

European Union countries need to significantly increase investments in carbon capture and storage and show much greater urgency and determination to develop and deploy the technology, according to a new report launched today in Brussels (16 June 2015) by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at London School of Economics and Political Science and the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London.

The report estimates that an investment of between €18 and €35 billion is needed for the installation of 11 gigawatts of electricity generation with carbon capture and storage by 2030, as laid out by the European Commission’s ‘Energy Roadmap’. However, European Union policies have so far provided only €1.3 billion for the development of the technology, and few Member States have put forward incentives to support it.

The authors of the report, led by Samuela Bassi, point out that all of the scenarios in the European Union’s ‘Energy Roadmap 2050’, to reduce annual emissions of greenhouse gases in line with the target of avoiding global warming of more than two centigrade degrees, involve the deployment of carbon capture and storage.

They note that the European Union has few carbon capture and storage projects under development, and none operating commercially. By contrast, North America already has 13 carbon capture and storage installations, and a further six under construction.

The authors call on the European Union to create a new strategy to increase ambition and accelerate action in the Member States. They recommend that both the public and private sectors should provide stronger support for carbon capture and storage.

The report states: “Above all, the European Union and its Member States must show much greater urgency and determination to develop and deploy CCS [carbon capture and storage], otherwise it will not be able to contribute towards the demanding targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, perhaps making them significantly more difficult and/or expensive to achieve.”

The report concludes that the main barrier to progress is the cost of deployment of carbon capture and storage technology. It suggests that, to make carbon and capture and storage projects cost-competitive with fossil fuel power plants that have unabated emissions in the European Union’s electricity generation markets, the carbon price would need to be about €35-60 per tonne of carbon dioxide for coal-fired power stations and about €90-105 per tonne of carbon dioxide for gas-fired plants. The report states: “The carbon price in the European Union Emissions Trading System is unlikely to hit this level for at least the next decade, so additional policies are required.

The report identifies a number of “priority actions” for the European Union and its Member States to undertake over the next five years in order to overcome critical barriers to deployment and to encourage investment.

Among the recommended actions are more direct funding for research and development, a new funding mechanism to finance early stage development projects, financial incentives for electricity generation using carbon capture and storage, increased support from public financial institutions, and mandatory targets to stimulate further action by the private sector.

Download the report

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  1. The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (http://www.lse.ac.uk/grantham) was launched at the London School of Economics and Political Science in October 2008. It is funded by The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment (http://www.granthamfoundation.org/).
  2. The Grantham Institute – Climate Change and Environment (http://www.imperial.ac.uk/grantham), at Imperial College London is committed to driving research on climate change and the environment, and translating it into real world impact. It was established in February 2007 with funding from The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment.

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