An ambitious roll-out of carbon capture storage (CCS) technology would generate a large number of jobs, create a market worth up to £35bn by 2030, and reduce household electricity bills by £82 a year, according to a joint report published today by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA).
The report – The Economic Benefits of CCS in the UK – shows that a number of actions need to be taken by government in the immediate future to boost CCS and deliver significant benefits to the UK economy in the lifetime of the next parliament and beyond.
Key findings from the report include:
• CCS can play a vital role in helping the UK meet its statutory target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. It has been estimated that without CCS, the cost of meeting this target will rise by £30-40bn per year.
• Inclusion of CCS in the mix of low-carbon technologies would result in a 15 per cent reduction in wholesale electricity prices – leading to an average cut in household bills of £82 a year.
• Each new-build CCS power plant would generate between 1,000 and 2,500 jobs in construction, with a further 200-300 jobs in operation, maintenance and the associated supply chain.
• CCS could help the UK to retain existing industries, such as coal and gas power generation, and support vital energy-intensive industries (such as chemicals, steel and cement manufacture) which employ 800,000 people directly and in supply chains.
• The total economic benefits of CCS could reach £2-£4 billion per year by 2030.
Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, said: “The UK is committed to reducing its carbon emissions in the coming decades. Carbon capture storage technology offers a way to meet our environmental targets, while creating thousands of skilled, well-paid jobs and transforming regional economies.
“New CCS plants would create thousands of new jobs and safeguard many more in energy intensive industries such as steel, chemicals and cement. This is a great opportunity to re-invigorate our manufacturing sector and bring new R&D, design and construction jobs to areas like Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland.
“Our depleted North Sea gas and oilfields make the UK one of the best areas in the world to exploit CCS technology. But without stronger government backing the UK risks losing its competitive advantage and all the jobs and economic activity that CCS could bring.”
Dr Luke Warren, Chief Executive of the CCSA, commented: “This report definitively shows that the successful deployment of CCS has wider benefits for the UK economy. Respected international and UK organisations agree that without CCS in the mix, costs of meeting climate change targets will rise significantly.
“We have gone further in this report to show that the cost savings from CCS have a real impact on the average UK household – increasing their disposable income and reducing the risk of fuel poverty.
“The UK is one of the best places in the world to develop CCS – we have abundant storage capacity in the North Sea, a world-class oil and gas industry with the right skills for CCS, and existing infrastructure that can be re-used. Now is the time for the UK to seize this opportunity, realise the significant benefits of CCS and become one of the global leaders in this vital technology.”