The UK government’s ambitious target of capturing and storing 20 to 30 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually by 2030 may prove “very challenging”, warns a report by global consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie, as cited by industry news sources on Wednesday.
The analysis underscores that many companies have faced delays in advancing their carbon capture, usage, and storage (CCUS) projects due to sluggish negotiations for government funding, Engineering & Technology (E&T) reported.
According to the consultancy, the difficulty in securing both public and private investments is poised to hinder the nation’s ability to meet its CCUS targets.
Mhairidh Evans, head of CCUS research at Wood Mackenzie, emphasized that CCUS is a burgeoning global industry but acknowledged that technical progress has outpaced commercial and regulatory aspects.
Speaking at the Offshore Europe conference taking place on September 5-8 in Aberdeen, in northeast Scotland, Evans stressed the need for expediting funding processes and attracting private investments to align with current CCUS objectives.
The UK’s CCUS initiatives are expected to take place in four transport and storage hubs: the East Coast Cluster, HyNet, Acorn, and Viking. However, none of these projects have received final investment decisions.
Wood Mackenzie estimated that launching the first four CCUS clusters would require £65 billion (approx. $81.1 billion) and result in the storage of over 500 million tons of CO2 over their operational lifespans.
The UK government has committed £20 billion (nearly $25 billion) to CCUS initiatives, which is considered pivotal to attract additional private investments.
While 60 different emitting facilities have expressed intentions to deploy CCUS technologies before 2030, only eight projects have secured funding.
Despite these challenges, Evans emphasized that the UK’s ambitious CCUS targets are a critical step in reducing industrial emissions for decades to come, and the nation has the necessary foundations to succeed, albeit with a need for faster progress.
“The UK’s CCUS targets are among the most ambitious in the world,” Evans was quoted as saying.
“Delivering them was always going to be a big ask. High ambitions are needed, and a missed target shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as a failure,” he concluded.