UK CCS expansion could generate £32 billion for the economy, according to new report
The research, commissioned by Drax Group, said that the most optimistic scenario could see the UK government enhance domestic energy security, fuel economic growth and establish the UK as a world-leader in carbon capture and removals technology.
This scenario could be delivered through policy changes which can unlock investment and clarify how CCS Clusters are developed, according to the report. These include:
Finalising CCS business and financial models; confirming the role of the UK ETS scheme and voluntary carbon markets in supporting investment in CCS; and providing a near-term incentive for prospective storage operators to appraise storage locations building on recent North Sea Transition Authority licencing rounds.
The North of England would be the region to benefit most with £22 billion (€25.2 billion) added to the economy per year from 2050 onward and 330,000 additional jobs.
The report also explores the economic impacts of two additional scenarios, one where the UK delivers on current CCS policy commitments and another where it does not.
If the UK does fulfil its ambitions, it will be worth an additional £23 billion (€26.3 billion) per year from 2050 and an additional 310,000 jobs.
However, in its recent progress report, the Climate Change Committee warned that the rollout of CCS is already behind schedule and Development Economics’ research shows that if this trend continues and the UK fails to deliver on its CCS policy commitments, the economic effects could be severe.
Richard Gwilliam, UK BECCS programme director at Drax Group, said: “Carbon capture and removals can be a catalyst for growth, stronger energy security, increasing employment and reaching Net Zero in the UK.
"This research demonstrates that if the UK puts its foot on the accelerator and expands the rollout of CCS Clusters across the country, a unique prize worth tens of billions of pounds to the economy and hundreds of thousands of jobs is within reach.
“At Drax, we want to play our part in ensuring the UK becomes a global leader in CCS and that is why we are working towards installing two bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) units at Drax Power Station.
"This would see us become a key part of a Humber-based carbon capture cluster and we are currently working on routes to deployment through the Track 1 Expansion and Track 2 processes.”
Steve Lucas, director at Development Economics, said: “This research demonstrates the significant opportunity for the UK to be a global leader in carbon capture and storage and the importance of CCS for key industries which provides jobs, growth and opportunity across the UK.
"With ambition, clarity, and the necessary support from Government – following the key suggestions outlined in the report’s roadmap – there is a significant prize to be won for the UK economy and environment”.