Ministers were sternly rebuked today for dilly-dallying over funding for two projects to trap carbon emissions from coal power stations.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects are seen as crucial for the UK to continue using fossil fuels for electricity while sticking to targets for cutting greenhouse gases.
MPs on parliament’s energy watchdog urged the Government to fast-track final funding decisions on two pilot CCS projects at Peterhead and Drax by early 2015.
Originally they were hoped to be working by 2014 but this has been pushed back to 2020.
MP Tim Yeo who chairs the Energy and Climate Change Committee said: “The ‘competition’ the Government launched to award capital support to CCS has turned out to be a model example of how not to support a fledgling industry, taking successive governments the best part of 10 years to complete.”
He suggested the country could even turn a profit by renting out future carbon stores to other nations.
Mr Yeo said: “The UK has so far attracted 50% of the proposals for CCS projects in Europe and with the right Government support it could be feasible to create a ‘storage market’ where other countries pay to permanently store CO2 in the UK’s disused offshore geological sites in the North Sea.”