The UK government made the selection of the carbon capture clusters that will be the initial beneficiaries of the £1 billion ($1.38 billion) pot of state funding. It chose the HyNet and the East Coast carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects – both in northern England, with the Acorn carbon capture and storage project based north of Aberdeen in Scotland as a reserve cluster.
If talks with either of the preferred two contenders fall through, the government will move on to the Scottish carbon capture hub. The news upset the industry and opposition politicians supporting the Scottish cluster, and called for more CCUS projects to be taken forward.
UK Government Carbon Capture Funding
The UK government announced in 2020 that it aims to invest several hundred million pounds in carbon capture and storage technology as part of a new 10-point action plan to tackle climate change. Part of the plan is to have at least two carbon capture clusters up and running by the mid-2020s and four by 2030 at the latest.
The ultimate goal is for this technology to capture and store 20 million to 30 million tons annually of CO2 by 2030, which would also lay foundations and open doors for future carbon capture investments. The £1 billion CCS Infrastructure Fund dedicated to this purpose, will provide the industry with the certainty needed to deploy this technology at pace and at scale.
The first two projects that received the green light are the East Coast Cluster, planning to capture and store emissions produced across the Humber and Teesside industrial areas, and the HyNet North West project in Liverpool Bay, which will produce low carbon hydrogen from natural gas.
The first project also called Net Zero Teesside is backed by the oil companies BP and Equinor, along with the energy firms Drax and SSE, and aims to cut up to 27 million tons of CO2 a year by 2030. The HyNet project’s goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 10 million tons a year by the end of the decade and is backed by the Italian oil company Eni and Progressive Energy.
Even though the Acorn projects is put aside, for now, the government announced it will continue to engage with it throughout phase two of the CCUS sequencing process to ensure it can continue its development and planning.