The UK Government has today announced its new Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, with £171 million awarded to nine projects that aim to deliver net-zero ambitions in Scotland, Wales and England.
SCCS welcomes this “blueprint” for decarbonising industrial zones while delivering “home-grown” low-carbon technology, including carbon capture and storage (CCS). In Scotland, emissions from industry make up nearly a third of our annual greenhouse gas emissions and are some of the hardest sources to abate.
We fully agree with Secretary of State Kwarteng’s statement that “While reaching our climate targets will require extensive change across our economy, we must do so in a way that protects jobs, creates new industries and attracts inward investment - without pushing emissions and business abroad.”
The Government’s strategy appears to provide many of the things we have been calling for: direct funding for CCS projects to serve existing industrial clusters; a commitment to establish four CCS clusters by the mid 2030s; plus using public sector planning and procurement powers to support and incentivise CCS deployment.
However, we are very disappointed to see that the target announced for CO₂ capture – 3 million tonnes per year by 2030 – is significantly lower than the *10Mt target announced in last year’s Ten Point Plan. We urge the government not to roll back on their ambition for CCS and work towards the goal set in the Ten Point Plan.
Furthermore, the amount of CO₂ captured is less important than the amount of CO₂ that is securely and permanently stored, preventing it reaching the atmosphere, and we would welcome a target for this to drive the CO₂ storage industry in the UK.
We welcome the commitment to work with devolved governments to unlock barriers to industrial decarbonisation. Today’s strategy follows the publication yesterday of Scotland’s Energy Strategy Position Statement , in which the Scottish Government reiterated its wish to work with the UK Government on supporting the decarbonisation of Scotland’s energy-intensive industries.
Support for the skills transition is, of course, essential and we urge the Government to ensure that the supply chain for industrial decarbonisation is developed in the UK, to serve both domestic and international decarbonisation ambitions.
Finally, we look forward to supporting the development of Scotland’s Net Zero Infrastructure (SNZI) programme, including the Acorn CCS and Hydrogen projects, which has been awarded around £31m. SCCS partners, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Strathclyde, are involved in the Scotland’s Net Zero Roadmap (SNZR) project, the sister project to SNZI, which will develop a range of net-zero pathways for Scotland’s industrial emitters.
Professor Stuart Haszeldine, SCCS Director, said:
This UK plan to reduce and eliminate industrial emissions places the UK in a unique global position – to maintain foundation and process industries. And to retain their benefits of employment, skills and supply chain resilience in the world's first industrial economy. This requires a boldness of vision and scientific and technical innovation and planning. The success of this plan will be measured during the next two decades, not just with decreased contributions to global warming, increased employment and skills, but also with how much of this can be delivered worldwide by UK designs, standards and regulations – or simply imitated and copied.
*Addendum, received from UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), 18 March 2021: "The ambition to capture 10 Mt of CO2 per year by 2030, as set out in the PM’s 10 Point Plan in November, still stands. Today’s announcement specifically outlines industry’s contribution to that ambition, consisting of at least 3Mt of emissions. The remaining 7 Mt will be achieved through applying CCUS across a range of sectors such as power and hydrogen production."