Ahead of the CCSA's first conference, Luke Warren argues the next government can unlock the huge potential offered by carbon capture technologies
On Wednesday 6 November, the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) will be hosting its first annual conference: CCUS 2019: Capturing the clean growth opportunities. We're delighted that Shell and others are supporting the conference which will act as a meeting place for key stakeholders, the industry and potential customers at this watershed moment for carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS).
The change in our energy sector over the last decade has been dramatic but the transformation to a net-zero world will be unprecedented. CCUS is essential to ensuring that this transition will benefit every part of the economy, going further into power as well as industry and - through the production of clean hydrogen - the heating and transport sectors. The rollout of CCUS in the UK requires the rapid development of a huge new sector that can provide decarbonisation services to UK businesses. The importance of CCUS to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement provides opportunities for international leadership and new markets for services and the supply chain.
2020 promises to be another important year in the development of our industry. While the uncertainty of the General Election needs to be navigated, there is a cross party consensus on the importance of climate change and the need for credible near-term action that gets us on the pathway towards delivering the UK's net zero target.
Across the political spectrum there is strong support for the deployment of CCUS. There will be some critical early decisions that need to be made by the new Government to ensure that the UK CCUS programme continues to be progressed, not least decisions on the investment framework that will support the UK's first CCUS projects as well as the policies that can enable oil and gas infrastructure under threat of decommissioning to be re-purposed for CCUS.
We still have work to do to explain CCUS to a wider public which has a growing knowledge of and interest in the fight against climate change. We need to be honest and open about the challenges that our societies face and the journey that the UK economy needs to take towards full decarbonisation.
A thriving CCUS sector, operating at scale, encouraging innovation and replicating successes, can play a key part in UK decarbonisation whilst also supporting our industrial regions to transition and provide the low carbon products and services of the future. Government, the Climate Change Committee and many stakeholders recognise this, yet the UK still lags behind other countries in the development of CCUS. Perhaps a simple wish for 2020 is for whoever is in Government to take the clear decisions required to begin the roll-out of CCUS projects and infrastructure because, as the Committee on Climate Change have concluded, CCS "is a necessity not an option".
There are still a few late tickets available at CCUS 2019, which will be held in London on Wednesday 6 November. You can register to attend at http://ccusconference.org/.
Concessionary rates are available to CCSA members, researchers, academics and public sector organisations.
Luke Warren is chief executive at the Carbon Capture and Storage Association.
This article was provided as part of the Powering Progress Together Hub hosted in association with Shell.