Energy: Big blow for carbon-capture bids

We will have focused our individual needs on the various subjects in the Government’s 2015 autumn statement on November 25 and, thereafter, what is really revealed by media commentators.

We will usually be told that initial readings have not to be taken at face value, particularly in world energy.

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, made a few mentions of the energy subject.

Almost as an incidental, throwaway remark, it has been revealed that the £1bn competition-termed Government support of the UK’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) initiatives has been axed, to use a word much favoured by the media.

I regularly ring up the Shell SSE office in Fife, which tells us the progress of its pioneer project for Peterhead’s gas-fired CCS power station, believed to produce about 1,200 megawatts.

I am avoiding telephoning it at present as its CCS ambitions have been undermined.

Whether it could produce a suitable financial package itself is doubtful. Uncaptured emission from gas remains considerable.

Peterhead is dwarfed by the other major project, the 3,600-megawatt power station at Drax in Yorkshire, the White Rose project.

The degree of CCS is not known to me, nor is the progress of the conversion from coal to wood at the Port of Tyne in South Shields, a major import terminal.

In Canada, a recently built CCS facility at 100 megawatt Boundary Dam has been much visited, including by UK MPs.

This looks relatively small, but it is obviously sizeable enough to demonstrate the technology of a coal-fired station, coal being more difficult than gas for CCS.

Amber Rudd, the Energy Secretary, said that gas would replace coal, and assumed wood also, as a significant move towards the decarbonisation obligations we have.

She has also stated that renewables such as solar panels and wind turbines have been subsidised for long enough, and CCS appears to have been given similar reconsideration or, as she states, a re-set.

Health, housing and an income are fundamental needs of all of us.

Heating and electricity are inherent in these, and just about everything else.

AM Johnson

North Shields