23 April 2009 – The UK is set to announce a new generation of coal fired power plants to stave off a potential energy crisis, but any new plant would have to be retrofitted with carbon capture and storage by 2020.
The plans are expected to include clusters of power stations sharing pipes diverting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to sites under the sea using carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Earlier this week, the UK announced funds for up to four CCS projects. Each carbon capture scheme could cost more than GBP1bn ($1.46bn), paid for by a new levy on consumers’ electricity bills.
A study by the energy company E.ON has proposed a network connecting major emitters of carbon dioxide in the Thames Estuary to a central pipeline carrying the gas to be stored in old gas fields in the North Sea.
The scheme could be built around new power stations proposed for Kingsnorth, Kent, and Tilbury, Essex, the study suggests.
Together with the CO2 created by mining the coal, transporting it and building and running the equipment, it means that the “life cycle” carbon savings are likely to be around 75 per cent of the emissions, compared to unabated coal.
Spurring the new strategy is the UK’s target of saving at least 80 per cent of its greenhouse gases by 2050. And because no new coal power station has been built in the UK for more than 30 years, energy experts say the nation has become over-reliant on electricity from gas.