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

Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) will reduce the risk and cost of the UK’s transition to a low carbon energy system finds 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’, presents three new pieces of analysis that support the case for investing in up to 3GW of gas power CCUS before 2030, as part of a cost-effective pathway to 2050.

Analysis by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has for several years indicated that carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) is indispensable to a cost effective low carbon transition for the UK.

Gas power CCUS has low exposure to trade risk and can be developed at scale under existing support mechanisms. It can provide anchor loads for CO2 pipelines and stores that serve emerging CCUS clusters, with wider decarbonisation benefits for low carbon industry and hydrogen.

Developing gas power CCUS in a favourable location for a CCUS industrial cluster represents the most straightforward, deliverable and best value approach to early deployment. The government should not risk failing to realise the future benefits and cost savings associated with CCUS, by failing to test the potential for cost reduction through deployment at scale.

Key points
  • Firstly, updated whole energy system analysis shows how delaying commercial scale deployment of CCUS will increase the risks and probably increase the costs of energy sector transition.
  • Secondly, new electricity system analysis shows that we are still likely to need low carbon baseload generation to complement renewables. We should continue investing in options for low carbon baseload electricity generation, even though the costs of renewables and storage are falling fast. Both gas power with CCUS (‘gas power CCUS’) and new nuclear are worthy of comparable effort. Electricity modelling shows that early gas power CCUS capacity (i.e. up to 3GW) is part of a cost-effective pre-2030 electricity generation mix that meets the fifth carbon budget. The modelling takes full account of cost reductions in renewables and the latest ETI evidence on the cost premium required for early gas power CCUS projects.
  • Thirdly, new analysis of the value for money of electricity technologies shows how gas power CCUS is cost effective because it delivers both low carbon electricity and capacity at peak. Current market arrangements do not fully reflect its system value. A ‘level playing field’ comparison significantly improves the competitive ranking of gas power CCUS compared to other low carbon options.