If Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) is not deployed over the next decade, the UK's transition to a low carbon energy system will face increased risk and higher costs says a new report released by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).
‘Still in the mix? Understanding the role of Carbon Capture Usage and Storage', was written by the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC) for the ETI, and takes into account recent cost reductions in renewables and the latest ETI modelling on CCUS costs. The report reaffirms previous ETI work on the importance of CCUS deployment by 2030, without which carbon abatement costs will increase by circa £1 billion a year. The research also cements ETI analysis that if CCUS is not developed at all before 2050, the ‘national bill' for low carbon energy that year would be circa £35bn higher - equivalent to circa 1% of expected GDP.
The report highlights gas power with CCUS (up to 3GW) as an effective low carbon electricity option that can be deployed cost-effectively before 2030 within an electricity generation mix that meets the 5th carbon budget. The report concludes that early investment in gas power CCUS in favourable locations for a CCUS industrial cluster represents the most straightforward, deliverable and best value approach to early deployment of the technology.
The ETI has spent 10 years carrying out extensive research on the deployment of CCUS and for this report commissioned analysis from Baringa Partners and Frontier Economics. Baringa explored cost optimal pathways for decarbonising electricity out to 2050 with a focus on the pre-2030s. Frontier Economics produced illustrative analysis against a baseline scenario informed by the assumptions constructed by Baringa's work.
Andrew Haslett, Chief Engineer, ETI comments: "This new report produced for us by the ESC confirms our belief that CCUS is highly versatile and valuable as an enabler of a wide range of options to meet carbon targets at low cost, and the technology is vital to an affordable low carbon transition for the UK. When account is taken of the potential benefits of CCUS to wider energy system decarbonisation, the case becomes compelling. By not deploying CCUS the UK could see the cost of a low carbon transition rise significantly, putting pressure on renewables generation capacity.
"This report is based on new modelling runs using our Energy System Modelling Environment (ESME), an internationally peer reviewed planning capability, and fully reflects recent cost reductions in renewables. Coupled with the Baringa and Frontier Economic work the analysis has shown CCUS to be vital in the whole energy system, with the added potential to support hydrogen production before 2030 with biomass gasification allowing for negative emissions in the medium term. The ‘least cost' pathway in ESME to meeting 2050 carbon targets includes 4GW of gas with CCUS by 2040, rising to 6GW by 2050.
"We believe that CCUS retains a key role as part of a least cost portfolio of low carbon technologies for the UK and will increase the options for decarbonised electricity, reducing deployment risks for other technologies."