The creation of a carbon capture and storage obligation scheme is “absolutely vital” according to the former chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, Tim Yeo.

A mechanism of a similar kind to the Renewables Obligation for low-carbon generation would be the “simplest and most rational policy available” to support the delivery of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the UK, Yeo told delegates at an event in London yesterday.

The Parliamentary Advisory Group’s report last September contained, in my view, a pair of absolutely vital policy recommendations,” said Yeo, who chaired the Depertment for Energy and Climate Change’s select committee between 2010 and 2015, and is now chairman of a nuclear industry group.

“One was to establish a system of CCS certificates to certify captured and stored CO2… and crucially those certificates would be tradeable.

“The other recommendation was for a CCS obligation which would require all suppliers of fossil fuels either to have stored a given percentage of the carbon content of the fuels they supply, or else to have bought in the market sufficient CCS certificates to cover their content.”

He said the “gradual and progressive” introduction of such a scheme would “very effectively reinforce” other policies designed to encourage investment in CCS. “The CCS obligation is the simplest and most rational policy available.”

Yeo lauded Britain’s track record on developing innovative policy mechanisms to tackle climate change, citing the UK’s own emissions trading scheme and legally binding carbon budgets.

“No country in the world has yet devised let alone implemented policies which provide CCS with a firm enough basis to achieve widespread deployment,” he noted. “Here there is still a chance for the UK to lead as it has done in other areas”.

Decrying the UK’s departure from the EU as a “terrible and unmitigated catastrophe”, he said there is “one glimmer of hope”. It will give the UK the chance to “experiment more easily with initiatives of this sort”.

Hopes for the future of CCS in the UK were undermined in 2015 when govenrment scrapped a £1bn competition designed to support trialing and commercialisation of the technology. 

No replacement support system has since replaced the scheme although energy ministers have said they still expect CCS to play a role in the UK’s future energy system.

Speaking in his role as the chairman of New Nuclear Watch Europe, Yeo last week told Utility Week that investment from South Korean utility Kepco could safeguard the future of the Moorside nuclear plant in Cumbria.

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