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WWF: Comment on Carbon Capture Development Funding

Monday, March 16, 2010

We welcome the decision to fund a study at Scottish Power’s existing coal plant at Longannet in Fife, as this would lead to an immediate net reduction in CO2 emissions from the power sector if it went ahead.
But plans to finance the E.On project risks giving a new lease of life to their controversial proposal to build a new coal plant at Kingsnorth in Kent, which we oppose.
WWF’s head of climate change, Dr Keith Allott, says: “Moves to demonstrate carbon capture and storage are welcome, but it is essential that this technology is tested in a way that benefits the climate from the outset and does not lock the UK into new and indefinitely polluting coal plants.
Opting now for Longannet would enable the UK to gain experience on the ground relatively quickly and will actually reduce emissions from day one.
"But it’s concerning that the government continues to flirt with a new plant at Kingsnorth, which wouldn’t be up and running until 2016 or later – and even then, 80% of its emissions would go into the atmosphere."
The government is now hurrying through legislation in the Energy Bill that would enable around £9.5 billion to be raised over a period of 20 years for four carbon capture demonstrations at coal plants (including whichever plant wins the current competition). This money would be raised via a levy on consumer electricity bills.
Dr Allott continues: “It will be a sorely missed opportunity if the government doesn’t use the Energy Bill to set a CO2 emission performance standard with robust limits on emissions from power plants.
"The government is planning to spend billions of pounds of consumers’ money demonstrating CCS – an as-yet commercially ‘unproven’ technology – so it’s only reasonable to expect guarantees that the climate will benefit."
The Energy Bill will have its second reading in the House of Lords on 23 March 2010. (Source: WWF)
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