Still in the mix? Understanding the role of Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage

Published: 27 November 2018

Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) will reduce the risk and cost of the UK’s transition to a low carbon energy system, according to this report delivered by the Energy Systems Catapult for the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).

‘Still in the mix? Understanding the role of Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage’, takes into account recent cost reductions in renewables and the latest ETI modelling on CCUS costs. The report reaffirms previous ETI work on the importance of CCUS deployment by 2030 and ETI analysis that if CCUS is not developed at all before 2050, the ‘national bill’ for low carbon energy that year would be circa £35bn higher – equivalent to circa 1% of expected GDP.

The report highlights gas power with CCUS (up to 3GW) as an effective low carbon electricity option that can be deployed cost-effectively before 2030 within an electricity generation mix that meets the 5th carbon budget. The report concludes that early investment in gas power CCUS in favourable locations for a CCUS industrial cluster represents the most straightforward, deliverable and best value approach to early deployment of the technology.

Key points

  • This new report supports extensive research that has consistently demonstrated that Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) deployment is a key component in minimising costs in the transition to a low carbon energy system
  • New electricity system analysis shows that the UK is likely to need low carbon baseload generation to complement renewables – gas power with CCUS and new nuclear are worthy of comparable effort
  • If CCUS is not deployed by 2030 carbon abatement costs will rise to circa £1 billion a year – and could double before 2050
  • Gas power stations with CCUS fitted can provide anchor loads for CO2 pipelines and stores that serve emerging CCUS clusters, unlocking a pathway for CCUS to cut emissions in industry and support hydrogen production.

The ETI has spent 10 years carrying out extensive research on the deployment of CCUS and for this report commissioned analysis from Baringa Partners and Frontier Economics. Baringa explored cost optimal pathways for decarbonising electricity out to 2050 with a focus on the pre-2030s. Frontier Economics produced illustrative analysis against a baseline scenario informed by the assumptions constructed by Baringa’s work.