Could CCS failure at Longannet be a good thing?

Last week saw the UK Government pulling the rug of financial support from under the feet of the troubled Longannet carbon capture and storage project. Despite many in industry expressing […]

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By Tom Gibson

Last week saw the UK Government pulling the rug of financial support from under the feet of the troubled Longannet carbon capture and storage project. Despite many in industry expressing their frustration in the failure of the flagship project, others say there may be opportunities.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne promised the £1 billion kitty would be reserved for the three other projects. Howard White, the founder of alternative fuel cell makers, AFC Energy said it meant new developments may take place: “The upside of this announcement is that the £1 billion may now be shared around on the (other) competition’s 2 – 4 projects and it is this program that AFC would take an interest in.”

The halt on carbon capture investment means that high emission industries such as UK coal could suffer setbacks following the Government’s EMR carbon price setting. David Brewer, Director General of CoalPro told ELN: “It’s very disappointing that the Longannet project is not going ahead, but it is encouraging the money will be available for the other projects.”

Despite coal losing out, Mr Brewer said that the new projects could serve as an opportunity for the Government to help a sometimes forgotten source of energy. He said: “With CCS, it’s not best to retrofit to old plant, but it’s best to apply to a new unit.

“At Longannet only one of the four units was set to benefit from abatement, the effect of carbon price support on the other three made it uneconomical for Scottish Power.”

CoalPro want the Government to consider options for unabated units at plants to help with the develoment of future CCS projects and keep coal competitive.