Environmental group WWF has welcomed yesterday’s decision by the government to open up its carbon capture and storage demonstration programme to gas-fired power plants.
But the group also said it was “worrying that the government does not appear to have plans to impose emission limits on gas plants”.
Whitehall is committed to funding four commercial-scale CCS projects and recently announced that up to £1bn will be available for the first commercial scale CCS demonstration project.
Previously, only coal-fired plants were eligible, but yesterday the government announced that gas-fired facilities can join the race too.
Nick Molho, head of energy policy at WWF-UK, said: “The demonstration of CCS on gas plants could play an important role in the UK’s efforts to limit carbon emissions from existing fossil fuel plants, but this in itself will not be enough to meet our climate change commitments.
“A plant-based emissions performance standard that will limit the amount of CO2 that new coal and gas plants are allowed to emit must be introduced as soon as possible. As made clear by the Committee on Climate Change, it is absolutely key that the UK power sector be near-decarbonised by 2030, so it is worrying that the government does not appear to have plans to impose emission limits on gas plants in the near future.”
Mr Molho added: “Whilst burning gas is less carbon intensive than burning coal, new unabated gas-fired plants still emit a lot of carbon and have an operating life of 25 to 30 years. This makes the introduction of a strong EPS for gas plants absolutely key if the UK is to avoid getting locked into high a carbon emissions future.”