Carbon Storage Could Lead the Northeast’s Industrial Renaissance

Regional business plan uses Teesside’s historic pipe network to channel CO2 into huge storage facilities in the North Sea.

Steve Murphy, finance director of energy consultancy Pale Blue Dot, which is co-ordinating the Teesside project, says transport and storage is the biggest challenge for any industrial CCS project. TVU will look at the feasibility of storing an initial 4m tonnes a year from GrowHow, SSI steel and two other companies at either the 542 aquifer (where the White Rose project also proposes to store CO2) or much further away in Shell’s depleted Goldeneye gas field in the Central North Sea, storage site for the Peterhead CCS project. On paper, both should have spare capacity.

But all comes down to whether the industry will be able to overcome investors’ concerns about the high cost and risk involved. Power stations are able to pass on the higher operating costs from CCS to consumers in higher utility bills – not something industry can do.

A recent paper from DECC suggested that the government is considering intervention to support industrial CCS. “The Tees Valley project will play a key role in putting a number on the cost of industrial CCS, and what that might mean for investors,” Murphy adds.

One big barrier will be establishing who will be responsible for any leakage of CO2 – trickier in industrial CCS than for power plants because of the greater number of actors involved. “There is a very low probability [of leakage], but it would have serious [financial] consequences,” Murphy says.

Read the full article in the Guardian here.

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