Cleaning up out of coal

Posted on 18 Jun 2009 by The Manufacturer

An independent report suggests clean coal could be worth £4bn a year to the economy and create 60,000 jobs in engineering, manufacturing and procurement.

These potential benefits could be realised by 2030 according to the report, ‘Future Value Of Coal Carbon Abatement Technologies To UK Industry’ by energy and climate change consultancy AEA Group.

The report was published yesterday alongside the Government’s consultation document ‘A framework for the development of clean coal’. First touted to Parliament by Ed Miliband at the end of April, the document proposes:

Requiring CCS demonstration: New coal fired power stations should only be given consent in the UK if they demonstrate CCS on at least 300MW net (around 400MW gross) of capacity from day one. Each demonstration project would have to store 20 million tonnes of CO2 over 10-15 years. The proposed framework recognises that CCS demonstration will only proceed with Government intervention. A financial incentive funded by electricity suppliers will support up to four commercial-scale CCS demonstrations in the UK.

Requiring CCS retrofit: All new coal fired power stations should be required to retrofit CCS to their full capacity within five years of CCS being proven, expected by 2020. The consultation document also explores whether this requirement should apply to existing coal fired power stations.

Contingency: In the event that CCS takes longer than expected to be judged proven, further measures may be needed to ensure emissions from coal are substantially reduced. These measures could include an annual cap on individual power stations’ emissions, a limit on running hours or an emissions performance standard that would limit the amount of CO2 that could be emitted per unit of electricity generated.

“By acting early, jobs will also be created as Britain develops the expertise in what could be a major new industry, with CCS projects offering the potential to form the hubs for clusters of low carbon industries,” added Miliband.

“By driving the development of CCS in this country, we are also, as a country, playing an essential role in the battle against climate change.”