As featured in the European Green Deal, carbon capture and storage is considered of strategic importance for the green transition. France has just taken a major step in implementing carbon capture into its emission reduction objectives.
The Prime Minister of France presented on June 23, during a meeting of the National Industry Council (CNI) at Le Bourget, the country’s strategy for Carbon Capture, Storage and Use (CCUS), opening a consultation with manufacturers until September 29, 2023 to gather feedback.
In its strategy, the government outlines carbon capture targets for France that include:
- 4 to 8.5 million tons of CO2 captured a year by 2030
- 15 to 20 million tons of CO2 captured a year by 2050
- an extra 10 million tons of CO2 captured a year in non-industrial sectors around 2050.
At the heart of the French strategy stays the principle that carbon capture utilization and storage is not a technology to maintain a “business as usual” approach but a technology that should only intervene for incompressible residual emissions in the absence of other solutions for decarbonization that are economically accessible or as a transition solution.
Those other solutions for decarbonization are actions like energy efficiency, electrification, use of biomass, recycling, or other process changes. Therefore, carbon capture and storage should only be used in instances when those solutions cannot be implemented.
France’s climate objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 which is in line with the EU’s objectives. The ambitious CCUS strategy that the country is developing at the moment is intended to be integrated into ecological planning and help the country achieve its climate targets.
The country also has a goal to cut emissions in the industrial sector from 72 MtCO2 in 2022 to 45 MtCO2 in 2030. Another initiative it took is developing roadmaps for the decarbonization of the 50 most emitting industrial sites, identifying trajectories and solutions to reduce their emissions.
The roadmaps reported by these most emitting sites add to a combined 45% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030. The methods used to achieve their decarbonization are: undergoing energy efficiency through a modification of industrial processes or electrification, and through innovation. CCUS technologies are referred to as part of the solution.
Some government steps towards improving knowledge and actions on CO2 storage capacities in France are also outlined in the strategy. As there are currently no sufficiently detailed studies on storage capacities, the government plans to carry out an assessment of potential storage by the end of 2023 – beginning of 2024. It will also launch a call for tenders for seismic surveys and test injections of CO2 in pilot sites, with initial tests starting in 2024-2025.
Additionally, France will launch a support scheme via contracts for difference (CCFD) granted by a call for tenders to support industry decarbonization projects, in particular in the service of carbon capture and sequestration identified through the 50-site exercise.
The Carbon Contract for Difference concept translates into government compensations for energy-intensive industries by climate protection agreements to cover their additional costs (OPEX and CAPEX) to transition their production. The goal is to make green technologies more attractive for energy-intensive industries.
The CCFD scheme will be pre-notified to the European Commission in autumn 2023 and a first call for tenders will be launched in the first half of 2024. The government support should enable emitters to install the tools needed to capture and pay the cost associated with transport and storage to enable the deployment of that infrastructure.