Industry Needs to Embrace CCUS to Reach Net-Zero and Remain Competitive

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

On Thursday 2 May 2019, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published a report outlining how the UK can reach Net-zero emissions by 2050. [1] A key component of the plan is the widespread adoption of carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS), however, a lack of policy and financial backing calls into question the likelihood of this happening soon. Industry needs to persuade Government to fully support CCUS to ensure they can secure funding and remain relevant despite climate change concerns.

Investment is dependent on further Government commitment

A series of government U-turns means that there are only 18 large scale CCUS facilities in commercial operation. CCUS’ significance was first recognised in 2003,[1] however, successive governments have failed to develop large scale projects. Two demonstration competitions have been cancelled; the first in 2011 and the second in 2016. This lack of commitment has created an atmosphere of uncertainty and discouraged investment. It is for this reason that Chris Stark, Chief Executive of the CCC, emphasised the need for a future plan. Speaking to the BEIS Committee, [2] he stressed that a future plan would reassure investors, raise capital and increase confidence in the technology.  Fatih Birol, Director of the International Energy Agency made similar comments about the energy market as a whole, saying ‘bolder decisions required to make the energy system more sustainable. Government leadership is critical in order to reduce risks for investors in the emerging sectors that urgently need more capital to get the world on the right track.’[3]

CCUS benefits both business and Government

In 2018, the Global CCS Institute highlighted that ‘currently the world is way off track in meeting the Paris Agreement climate goals’ and that ‘it cannot get back on track without CCS’. [1] As climate change climbs the political agenda, carbon-intensive industries will be faced with a choice between reducing emissions or being side-lined. The Government may need CCUS to help maintain its traditional industries. UK manufacturing alone employs 2.9 million people. [2] Should decarbonised power not rollout at large enough scale, at quick enough pace, it could force manufacturing, or other energy intensive, industries to close. This would be a severe blow to the UK economy. Government needs to be reminded that supporting CCUS would not only benefit industry but also the country as a whole.

Action required now to maximise benefits

As Paris climate target deadline approaches, demand for CCUS is likely to increase. If UK business lobbies the UK Government to support CCUS now, this country can develop an early-mover advantage, gain a competitive edge and profit from this new technology. Current governmental inaction is preventing the UK benefiting from early adoption. The UK’s ability to profit from CCUS imports (by providing carbon dioxide storage to neighbouring countries) is already being threatened by North Sea competitors. The Port of Rotterdam is aiming to store two million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year from 2021. This should be treated as a decision point to government, with business strongly making the case that unless the UK pledges to at least match this target we are likely to lose any potential head start.

Brevia Consulting provides straightforward political advice and support to businesses and organisations.

Discover how Brevia can provide public affairs support to your organisation by calling the Brevia Energy Team on 020 7091 1650 or emailing

[1] Global CCS Institute, Global Status of CCS 2018, November 2018, Link.

[2] Office for National Statistics, EMP13: Employment by industry, 14 May 2019, Link.

[1] Department for Transport & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Energy White Paper, February 2003, Link.

[2] Chris Stark, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Clean Growth Strategy and International Climate Change Targets, Oral Evidence, 8 May 2019.

[3] International Energy Agency, World Energy Investment 2019, 14 May 2019, Link.

[1] Committee on Climate Change, Net Zero: The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming, May 2019, Link.



Energy White Paper Audit

Last week Brevia Energy released the findings of its audit of the Government’s 2020 Energy White Paper. The results, which were covered by Energy Live News, highlighted how nearly half of the commitments included in the Energy White Paper have been hit or look likely to be reached. However, the research also showed that answers to the ‘Who Pays?’ question remain needed. With the Government expected to publish both its Net Zero Strategy and Heat and Buildings strategy soon, greater detail on that may be soon forthcoming. That is likely to provoke debate about the direction of policy and open new fronts for businesses to make their case about how the net zero transition should be delivered.

Read More »

At-risk suppliers have put the energy supply industry at risk

Since the beginning of August 2021, the UK has experienced a record increase in gas prices, which has grown into a retail energy crisis that has already caused ten suppliers to exit the market this year. This crisis is the product of several factors, which the UK Government will seek to remedy in the short term and avoid in the long term. This means regulatory reforms are almost inevitable. Once the crisis is over and government turns to reforming the UK’s retail energy market, businesses that operate within it must actively engage with policymakers and regulators to ensure their voices are heard.

Read More »

COP26 Update: New Energy Minister

With less than 50 days until the COP26 Summit, Brevia will be tracking the latest milestones in the UK’s preparations for the upcoming climate conference. This week the Prime Minister carried out an extensive reshuffle of his ministerial team, including a shake up at BEIS, with Greg Hands MP becoming the new Energy Minister. Other notable highlights this week include the publication of the funding details for the upcoming Contracts for Difference (CfD) Round 4 auction.

Read More »
  • Get in touch to arrange your free monitoring trial.