Coal industry urges UK government to reconsider carbon capture storage

Jessica Morris
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CCS lets power plants burn coal without harming the environment (Source: Getty)

THE COAL industry is urging the new government to change its stance on support for the development of carbon capture storage (CSS).

The World Coal Association, which represents FTSE-listed miners such as Glencore and Anglo American, has written to business secretary Greg Clarke asking him to better support the requisite technology in the UK.

CCS would remove and store CO2 emissions from gas and coal-fired power plants, meaning they can generate electricity without jeopardising the UK's climate change goals. A £1bn scheme to encourage its development was scrapped by the previous energy minister Amber Rudd.

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Benjamin Sporton, chief executive of the industry group, told City A.M. that the merger between the business and energy departments had created space for the government to re-consider its support for CCS, as well as developing and eventually exporting the technology to other countries.

Sporton told City A.M. "[It] offers a really positive opportunity for some joined up thinking on ... energy and climate change alongside what the UK can do to pursue industrial strategy."

The Financial Times first reported the news, saying he's written to Clarke describing the government's withdrawal of support as "highly regrettable".

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It comes after the National Audit Office said scrapping the CCS scheme will force taxpayers to shell out another £30bn to meet the UK's 2050 carbon targets through the use of more expensive low carbon technologies.

Sporton added that recent uncertainty around plans to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant "points to the need to have more joined up thinking in energy policy."

"If the UK doesn't go down the nuclear path we'd still need reliable baseload electricity ... if we have CCS available we could use it on gas as well as coal," he said.

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