Statement from Professor Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS Director: “It has now become clear that announcements made earlier today by Chancellor George Osborne regarding energy innovation and support for low-carbon electricity were economical with the facts about support for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in the UK.
"A focus on CCS research and development is not enough to deploy this essential climate change technology – project developers and others in the CCS community are united in their stance that large-scale projects are needed on the ground. Multiple analyses have demonstrated that this is a feasible and cost-effective method to decarbonise not just UK electricity, but also heat and industry, whilst driving improved efficiency.
"The UK Government’s reliance on nuclear power to deliver our future electricity needs depends entirely on whether projects such as Hinckley Point can actually be delivered on time. All of the current three versions of this power plant under construction globally are taking double the anticipated timescales at treble the anticipated price. Small modular nuclear power, although promising, remains entirely unproven in a commercial supply setting. If new nuclear cannot be delivered at scale and on time, the UK runs the future risk, as of today, of becoming a distressed buyer of rapidly built gas power plant, which locks in UK carbon emissions for the next 40 years. To me, this does not look like prudent management.
"The new electricity supply landscape proposed by the Government, but a long way from being delivered, means all low-carbon electricity providers should be bidding into the supply market under equal terms. This means that low-carbon renewable providers must provide reliable ‘ firm' power delivery and that CCS projects should receive the multiple underwriting and favourable contract benefits gifted to Hinkley and its successors. CCS can deliver this and it would be perverse to prevent it from doing so.”