Commission publishes CCS development proposals

The European Commission is to promote the development carbon capture and storage by recognising the technology under the EU emissions trading scheme. But it is not proposing to make CCS mandatory

The proposals are part of a package of measures published on Wednesday aimed at cutting emissions of greenhouse gases from the EU by 20% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.

The key incentive for CCS is to revise the EUETS to treat carbon dioxide that is captured and stored as not having been emitted. From 2013, sites fitted with CCS would not need allowances under the scheme. Member states could opt for earlier implementation.

The package also includes a draft Directive that will require all new combustion plant larger than 300 megawatts, such as power stations, to be ‘CCS ready’ – that is designed so that CCS can be retrofitted. The Commission aims to have the Directive agreed by 2009.

The Directive would establish a CCS permitting regime. This would regulate the amount of carbon to be captured and stored, set monitoring conditions and require corrective action in the case of leakage. The Commission would be able to inspect the permits before they are issued by member states.

The operator would have to provide financial guarantees covering potential liabilities. In the event of leakage, operators would have to buy allowances to cover the escaped CO2. After closure of the storage site, liability would be transferred from the operator to the member state.

The Commission has also published proposals for 12 CCS demonstration plants by 2015. It intends to establish a project network for participants to exchange information.

An impact assessment suggests that CCS could become commercially viable by 2020. It estimates that it could reduce CO2 emissions by 160 million tonnes by 2030 – about 15% of the reduction effort required by the EU at that time.

Background information

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