EU commits to carbon capture

frontpageingressimage_frontpageingressimage_Piebalgs2-1..jpg Photo: EU

Bellona is actively working with the CO2 question in the EU system, and has for the last year and a half participated in the EC’s Zero Emission Fossil Fuel Power Plants Technology Platform (ZEP).

In the meeting last week, Pieblags congratulated Bellona and other ZEP participants on their work with curbing CO2 and confirmed the EU’s high ambitions for CSS.

“The Energy Commissioner began by acknowledging the work the Platform had accomplished in such a short period of time,” said Paal Frisvold, an advisor from Bellona Europa. “He was especially impressed that European Industry, Research milieus and NGOs stood together on a concrete agenda.”

The EC has studied the recommendations of ZEP on how to reach the goal for implementing CO2 management in energy production and industry by 2020. At the meeting on Monday, Piebalgs declared that the Commission will support ZEP’s goal and would like it up and running as quickly as possible.

“We are most satisfied that Pieblags confirms the high level of ambition of the Commission,” said Frisvold.

Money and Regulations are Necessary
Central in the discussion on Monday was a follow up on ZEP’s actual recommendation for speedy implementation of CCS technology in Europe.

But CCS technology is, for the time being, expensive. In order to reduce those costs in the short term, financing for 10 to 12 projects has to be in place. There is an urgent need to gain industrial experience that can reduce the cost of the cleansing technology.

The goal is to lower costs to EUR 20 per tonne of CO2 captured. It is widely assumed that Norway’s Tjeldbergodden and Mongstad gas-fired power plants will be among the first projects for CCS.

Regulations need to be implemented simultaneously to ensure that CCS is not just allowed but carried out in a secure and responsible way. A clarification of EU government subsidies must be included in the codification of the CCS programme. Piebalgs confirmed that the regulations are already being drawn up and will be presented in the course of 2007.

Making CCS profitable
The most probable challenge to CCS is ensuring economic incentives for industry that will make the environmentally friendly CCS technology attractive for investment – and it could take more time to make it profitable.

“Piebalgs put forth the (example of the) Mongstad- project, which he wanted to learn more about,” said Frisvold. “He was especially interested in the Commission familiarizing itself with the agreement between the (Norwegian) state and (Norwegian oil giant) Statoil.”

Financial issues will be the focus in the Commission’s report on Sustainable Coal, which is due to come out immediately following the New Year. In its efforts toward CCS in the coal industry, the EU will stress the need for the creation of a financial framework that makes CCS possible.

Bellona will be a participant in the discussion on CCS in the coal industry, and the organisation plans on playing an active role in the best interest of the environment.

(Translation by Christina Lund.)