Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Gas Plants and Carbon Capture and Storage.

This story from yesterday's Guardian is yet again good news for Wrecsam Council who are considering building a Gas Power Station on the Wrecsam Industrial Estate to generate electricity for the hundreds of companies that are located there. A part of the £9 billion pounds earmarked for Carbon Capture and Storage would be very welcome and will go a long way to preventing carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere from this gas plant. Pressure should be brought on Chris Huhne to bring CCS technology forward for Gas Power Stations before 2020.
Gas plants will be eligible for the government's £9bn carbon capture demonstration programme, Chris Huhne, the energy and climate change secretary, will announce tomorrow. The programme had only been open to coal plants, which in future will be required to fit the technology to capture and store emissions rather than release them into the atmosphere.

The move follows a warning from an independent body, the Committee on Climate Change, that the UK will miss its target to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 unless gas plants are subject to the same new emissions controls as coal. But Huhne will stop short of endorsing the committee's other recommendation to fit gas plants with the technology after 2020. Huhne will say only that new emissions controls will not apply to gas in the "short and medium term", although this leaves the door open for tougher action in a decade.

Huhne will say: "Today the government is reasserting its mission to lead the world on carbon capture and storage (CCS), by opening our funding process to what could be one of the first ever commercial-scale CCS projects on a gas-fired plant in the world. The UK looks set to rely on gas for years to come. We won't be able to take the carbon out of all gas plants overnight, but we hope to support the process by investment in new technology now."

Last month the government finally committed £1bn to building the first coal plant to demonstrate the CCS technology. It plans to subsidise up to three more projects, including one gas project, through a consumer levy, but there are serious doubts about when the funds will be made available.

Currently, about one third of the UK's generation capacity comes from gas plants, but this is expected to double later this decade as old coal and nuclear plants close. The emissions controls have in effect placed a moratorium on building coal plants, which means that new "unabated" gas plants will be built instead. Coal plants emit about twice as much carbon as gas.

Joss Garman from Greenpeace said: "To introduce new legal limits on pollution from power stations that exclude emissions from gas plants is like introducing rules for alcohol intake but excluding beer. Allowing gas plants to keep polluting indefinitely is perverse and represents a real threat to UK efforts to beat climate change."


MH said...

I'd certainly welcome the idea of extending CCS to gas as well as coal power stations. Coal is still a dirty way to generate electricity even if CO2 is taken out of the equation, and the technology is much easier with gas anyway.

The big problem is where to store the CO2, so unless there's something very special about Wrecsam that I don't know about, I can't see any reason to be too optimistic about your new power station being suitable. To my mind, the obvious beneficiary will be the Peterhead scheme. The thing that makes it stand out as a scheme is that pumping in the CO2 will at the same time help BP get a little bit more production from what would otherwise become an exhausted field. The SNP wanted to press ahead a few years ago, but Labour refused to put in place a pricing mechanism (either a carbon credit or a ROC) and BP decided to try it in Abu Dhabi instead. So it would be good to see the idea resurrected.

I don't know what the details of your power station are, but to my mind building a power station to serve an industrial estate is a good idea only as a combined heat and power scheme in which the waste heat from generation can be used by customers on the estate. That is good in and of itself, irrespective of whether the CO2 can be captured.

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Last paragraph is exactly what it will be but its early days as it is for CCS technology.

Got the info of Wrecsam being suitable from the Papur Gwyrdd and Seren Project

Anonymous said...

About time Plaid started praising the tory led coalition for their work at Westminster!

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

I thought there was cross party agreement on the need to reduce carbon, global warming and renewable energy and anyway Chris Huhne hasn't DONE anything yet just PROMISED which as we know doesn't mean a lot in the world of Con Dem politics

Ron Mylar said...

Gas Power Station on the Wrecsam Industrial Estate is helping in gas plants and carbon capture and its storage. This is very important.