Ed Miliband, UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, announced today that the UK intends to require any new coal power stations to be fitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS) equipment to reduce the CO2 pollution which is the primary cause of climate change.
The announcement was made in response to recommendations from the independent UK Committee on Climate Change which argued that the UK must prevent “lock-in” to another generation of polluting coal power plants or it would break UK climate change goals.
Secretary of State Miliband announced a comprehensive plan to:
- require any new coal power plants to immediately ensure a “substantial” proportion of CO2 emissions are captured and stored, and that by 2020 all emissions are stored.
- require from 2020 that all new coal power plants ensure all CO2 emissions are fully captured, as long as CCS technology has been proved technically and economically viable.
- give financial support up to four large scale CCS demonstration plants raised from a levy on electricity consumers; aiming to make the UK the leading global supplier of CCS technology.
The details of the policy will be open for consultation in the coming weeks and are expected to become law in Autumn 2009.
Nick Mabey, Chief Executive of E3G, welcomed the announcement.
"Ed Miliband has put the UK back at the forefront of global efforts to tackle climate change. Thisannouncement sends a clear signal that the era of dirty coal is over, and investing in clean energy is the only future option. The details of this legislation must provide a clear policy will give investors and innovators the signals they need to bring CCS technology to market”.
The UK has now set the bar for other countries. Europe has agreed the world’s most ambitious CCS demonstration programme, and the UK has shown this provides the basis from which countries like Germany can also immediately begin to regulate unabated coal off the European electricity grid”.
“The UK announcement also provides a signal to coal dependent developing countries like China that rich countries are serious about tackling climate change. This will provide a much needed positive momentum in advance of the vital global climate change treaty negotiations in December and lays the foundations for deploying CCS technology globally.”