Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (26th February 2016) warned that UK energy experts were now predicting that the cancellation of funding for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects alongside new power generation plants by the Government could “now lead to possible power shortages and danger of blackouts”.
Tom’s comments came following the release of a study by the respected UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) who in a report published today stated that “importing gas will have a severely limited role to play in the UK’s energy mix in the next two decades without the development of technology to capture and store carbon dioxide”.
“Their report makes sobering reading. They argue that the proposal by the Government that the UK simply imports more gas for power generation as a bridge between today’s needs and new nuclear power stations coming on line is fatally flawed if CCS is not used from the outset. Their report shows that, without CCS, the UK will only be able to use 10% more gas in 2050 than it did in 2010 if legally binding climate change targets are to be met.
“This will a severe limitation to companies wishing to generate power from gas in the long term, and it poses a question mark over the future for the UK’s domestic heating, for which gas is the primary fuel.
“The report says that if all coal-fired power generation is to be removed by 2025, and we are no longer supporting the development of CCS, policy makers must think long and hard about how best to replace that capacity as without CCS, gas can play only a modest role between now and 2020 if we are not to break international climate change agreements.
“My view is that this just shows how short sighted the government were to announce to the Stock Exchange that they were no longer to support CCS development, like the plants proposed on Teesside. If gas is limited, both by climate change agreements and by delays due to the widespread opposition to UK fracking, this, taken together with previous cut backs to renewable energy generation and delays in the building of new nuclear plants, means that power shortages in the future are well-nigh inevitable.
“There is an answer if the government had the vision, and it is a simple one. Simply get the Teesside CCS plans out on the table again, and then sit down with the Tees Energy and Chemical Process leaders to discuss how best and how quickly to get CCS up and running before the lights go out.”