The UK government organization, North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) launches on June 14th, the first official round of licensing for seabed sites for CO2 storage.
13 new storage sites will be granted, in addition to the six which have already been licensed. All of the carbon storage areas could make a significant contribution towards the aim of storing 20 million to 30 million tonnes per annum of carbon dioxide by 2030.
According to NSTA, around 100 CO2 storage sites would be needed altogether to meet the UK target of net zero by 2050.
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The sites being offered for licensing are off the coast of Aberdeen, Teesside, Liverpool and Lincolnshire in the southern North Sea, central North Sea, northern North Sea and East Irish Sea. They are made up of a mixture of saline aquifers and depleted oil and gas field storage areas.
There are also warnings about the potential for CO2 leakage if the correct sites are not chosen. According to Prof John Underhill, director for energy transition at the University of Aberdeen, carbon dioxide behaves differently from oil and gas so “it has to be handled differently”.
“It remains essential that the right sites are selected for the right reasons, something that demands a critical geological evaluation of each site,” adds Mr Underhill.
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The environmental campaigning community Friends of the Earth Scotland is opposing using carbon capture and storage (CCS). It sees this public money delivering more jobs and bigger emissions cuts if invested in renewables and energy efficiency measures.
“This industry has a long history of over-promising and under-delivering. Politicians and CCS backers in the fossil fuel industry want us to trust our future with a technology that has shown repeatedly it cannot be relied upon,” said campaigner Ryan Morrison.