Greg Hands – 2021 Statement on Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage

The statement made by Greg Hands, the Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in the House of Commons on 19 October 2021.

I am today providing an update on the UK’s CCUS cluster sequencing process which was launched in May this year. Carbon capture, usage and storage, or CCUS, will be essential to meeting our net zero ambitions and will be an exciting new industry to capture the carbon we continue to emit and revitalise the birthplaces of the first industrial revolution.

The Prime Minister’s ten-point plan established a commitment to deploy CCUS in a minimum of two industrial clusters by the mid-2020s, and four by 2030 at the latest. Our aim is to use CCUS technology to capture and store 20 to 30 MtCO2 per year by 2030, forming the foundations for future investment and potential export opportunities. CCUS will be crucial for industrial decarbonisation, low-carbon power, engineered greenhouse gas removal technologies and delivering our 5GW by 2030 low-carbon hydrogen production ambition.

Our cluster sequencing process, which has, through the CCS infrastructure fund, £1 billion to provide industry with the certainty required to deploy CCUS at pace and at scale, has completed the first phase of the evaluation of the five cluster submissions received by my Department.

I am today confirming that the Hynet and East Coast clusters have been confirmed as Track 1 clusters for the mid-2020s and will be taken forward into Track 1 negotiations. If the clusters represent value for money for the consumer and the taxpayer then subject to final decisions of Ministers, they will receive support under the Government’s CCUS programme. We are also announcing the Scottish cluster as a reserve cluster if a back-up is needed. A reserve cluster is one which met the eligibility criteria and performed to a good standard against the evaluation criteria. As such, we will continue to engage with the Scottish Cluster throughout phase 2 of the sequencing process, to ensure it can continue its development and planning. This means that if Government choose to discontinue engagement with a cluster in Track 1, we can engage with this reserve cluster instead.

Deploying CCUS will be a significant undertaking; these are new major infrastructure projects for a new sector of the economy and carry with them significant risks to deliver by the mid-2020s. Government will continue to play a role in providing long-term certainty to these projects to manage these risks and bring forward the UK’s first CCUS clusters.

We remain committed to helping all industrial clusters to decarbonise as we work to reach net zero emissions by 2050, and we are clear that CCUS will continue to play a key role in this process. Consequently, the Government continue to be committed to Track 2 enabling 10Mtpa capacity operational by 2030. This puts these places—Teesside, the Humber, Merseyside, north Wales and the north-east of Scotland—among the potential early super-places which will be transformed over the next decade.