Version classiqueVersion mobile

Is there a future for Carbon Capture and Storage in Poland ?

 | 
Michal Drabik

III. The Current Situation and the Future of CCS in the EU

Texte intégral

1In the short-term, until 2020, the EU committed itself to the so-called “3x20%” objectives which aim at “reducing greenhouse gases emission by 20% of 1990 levels, reducing energy consumption by 20% of the projected 2020 levels and increasing the share of renewable sources of energy to 20% of total energy generation” (PEP 2009, 4). With regards to long-term objectives, the Union has adopted specific legislation based on which it committed itself to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 as compared to 1990 levels (Corless et al. 2011, 6).

2Since “fossil fuels are likely to continue to be used in Europe's power generation as well as in industrial processes for decades to come […] the 2050 target can only be achieved if the emissions from fossil fuel combustion are eliminated from the system” (EC 2013, 11). According to the European Commission’s estimates, intended emissions’ reductions may be achieved only through coordinated efforts directed at energy efficiency improvements, greater use of renewable energy sources, further development of nuclear power, and expansion of CCS technologies (Hinc 2010, 10).

  • 4 EC (European Commission). 2012a. Energy roadmap 2050. COM(2011) 885 final. DOI:10.2833/10759. http: (...)
  • 5 EC (European Commission). 2011. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the C (...)

3CCS is thus a crucial tool of the undertaken decarbonization of the EU’s economy. As envisioned by two major documents published by the Commission – the “Energy roadmap 2050”4 and the “Roadmap for moving to a low-carbon economy in 2050”5 – it is expected to play a significant role in the future EU energy mix. Yet, for such predictions to materialize, it has to be proven, first, that CCS “can be used as a large scale technology that can be commercially viable to allow for large scale deployment” (EC 2013, 16). As of today, CCS still falls short of those expectations.

  • 6 CCS Directive. 2009. Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009, on t (...)
  • 7 According to CCS Directive’s provisions, each Member State has full discretion over the decision of (...)

4In 2007 the European Council made a decision to support up to 12 large-scale CCS demonstration projects by 2015. Shortly after, the European Commission undertook an effort to create a relevant legal framework, ultimately leading to the adoption of the so-called CCS Directive.6 The Directive regulates issues of capturing, transporting and storing CO2 within Member States (EC 2013, 18).7

  • 8 The EEPR is a “€4bn. programme [that] was set up in 2009 to co-finance projects (59 so far), design (...)
  • 9 The NER300, is a subsidy scheme “financed by the sale of 300 million emission allowances from the N (...)
  • 10 McGrath, M. “Green energy on the back foot after carbon trading blow,” BBC. 2013. http://www.bbc.co (...)

5In addition, two funding instruments, the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR)8 and the New Entrants Reserve 300 (NER300),9 have been set up with the expectation of providing around €9 billion – the amount sufficient to ensure the construction of several CCS demonstration plants across the EU (EC 2013, 16). However, due to the, much lower than expected, level of carbon prices, the funds actually available proved to be much smaller. As the ongoing crisis caused a radical slowdown of the European economy, industrial production decreased, simultaneously reducing the emissions. Yet, since allowances were issued in quantities corresponding to the anticipated industrial output of a “healthy” EU economy, they turned out to be too numerous, and as such drove the market price of carbon significantly down.10

6“The shrinkage of the pot of [NER300] funds mean[s] that projects successful in the competition [for the program’s financing] […] receive less support than initially anticipated, placing an additional burden on co-founders such as host states and sponsor companies” (Pearson and Whiriskey 2013, 3). As a result, with the current economic situation and with the carbon price being around €5, neither states nor companies have any real incentive to invest in CCS.

7From the perspective of private operators, the money potentially saved on allowances owing to CCS-based reduction of a plant’s emissions, is unable to cover large additional expenses provoked by the technology itself. For governments, in turn, large investments in CCS appear to be unnecessary due to the fact that states, being currently in a recession, have had their economies shrunk and thus manage to meet their emissions targets even without the discussed technology (EC 2013, 17).11

8Consequently, despite the original goal of NER300 “to fund 8 CCS demonstration projects of commercial size together with 34 innovative renewable energy projects” (EC 2013, 17). in the first phase of the program, no CCS project was actually awarded funds because hosting states were unable or unwilling to support them (Pearson and Whiriskey 2013, 2).

9Thus the first phase of NER300 was a plain failure. It neither reduced the costs and risks of CCS technology, nor did it remove “key barriers to the deployment of CCS, through the development of sufficient storage capacity, transport infrastructure and relevant industrial know-how.” Furthermore, “[t]he absence of full-scale integrated CCS demonstrations will have significant long term repercussions on the development of CCS in Europe, retarding the development of indigenous CCS service providers, jeopardising the timeline for commercial deployment and subsequently reducing the technologies’ ability to contribute to CO2 emissions reductions” (Pearson and Whiriskey 2013, 6).

10Therefore, “[n]otwithstanding its critical role [in meeting the EU’s emission goals], CCS has now reached a tipping point in the EU.” Its fate depends on the price of carbon (Pearson and Whiriskey 2013, 1-3). This price, being determined by the market principle of supply and demand (Corless et al. 2011, 6-7), peaked at €30/t of CO2 in 2008, decreasing since then over threefold and reaching, at the end of 2012, a mere €8.49/t of CO2 (GCI 2012, 7) – a level far below what is necessary for the commercial viability of CCS. What is even worse, though, is that the price of 10-year CO2 futures remains low as well, giving little hope for any dramatic increase of the price of carbon in the near future (Pearson and Whiriskey 2013, 3).

11To conclude, as much as the EU refuses to give up on CCS, the technology appears to be facing ever increasing difficulties. Most importantly, neither Member States nor energy companies are keen on putting their own money into CCS projects. While the Union is still capable of keeping CCS “alive” for at least some time, either by somehow incentivizing states to test it or by subsidizing demonstration projects to a greater extent than is done currently, it is unlikely to persuade its members to apply the technology on a wide scale. In order to achieve the latter goal, the EU would have to mandate the use of CCS. Yet, as neither the authorities nor the societies of Member States have much enthusiasm for the technology, it is very unlikely that European governments would let any such law pass.

Notes

4 EC (European Commission). 2012a. Energy roadmap 2050. COM(2011) 885 final. DOI:10.2833/10759. http://ec.europa.eu/energy/publications/doc/2012_energy_roadmap_2050_en.pdf (accessed 20 November 2014).

5 EC (European Commission). 2011. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions; A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050. COM(2011) 112 final. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/resource.html?uri=cellar:5db26ecc-ba4e-4de2-ae08-dba649109d18.0002.03/DOC_1&format=PDF (accessed 20 November 2014).

6 CCS Directive. 2009. Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009, on the geological storage of carbon dioxide and amending Council Directive 85/337/EEC, European Parliament and Council Directives 2000/60/EC, 2001/80/EC, 2004/35/EC, 2006/12/EC, 2008/1/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1013/200. 2009/31/EC. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32009L0031&from=EN (accessed 20 November 2014).

7 According to CCS Directive’s provisions, each Member State has full discretion over the decision of whether or not to allow the application of CCS technology in its territory (GCI (Global CCS Institute). 2012. EOR/CCS 360-Degree Legal Review, 8. http://decarboni.se/sites/default/files/publications/84561/eor-ccs-360-degree-legal-review.pdf - accessed 20 November 2014). However, once a decision is made in favor of CCS, domestic regulations must conform to specific rules prescribed by the Directive. Although the deadline for the transposition of the Directive into national laws expired in June 2011, by October 2012 only ten Member States (namely Spain, Lithuania, Slovakia, Malta, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, France, Portugal, and Romania) had actually completed the transposition process (GCI 2012, 8). In addition, as of today, one Member State “has [still] not notified any transposition measures of the Directive to the Commission” (EC 2013, 18). Furthermore, there are also several others, such as e.g. Austria (UfU; SiteChar 2012, 4), which decided to ban or restrict storage of CO2 in their territories (EC 2013, 18).

8 The EEPR is a “€4bn. programme [that] was set up in 2009 to co-finance projects (59 so far), designed to make energy supplies more reliable and help reduce greenhouse emissions, while simultaneously boosting Europe's economic recovery” (European Commission, “European Energy Programme for Recovery,” http://ec.europa.eu/energy/eepr/ - accessed 20 November 2014). By the end of 2010, almost 97% of the available funds for energy projects were already utilized, with around €1 billion being allocated to CCS ventures (GCI 2012, 12).

9 The NER300, is a subsidy scheme “financed by the sale of 300 million emission allowances from the New Entrants Reserve (NER) under the ETS Directive” (GCI 2012, p. 13). It “was introduced to finance CCS commercial scale demonstrations, together with innovative renewables energy projects” (EC 2013, 16). With the assumption that the carbon prices will oscillate at around €15/t, NER was estimated to provide around €4.5 billion for research and development (European Commission, “Strategic Energy Technologies Information System,” http://setis.ec.europa.eu/newsroom-items-folder/carbon-capture-and-storage-crossroads - accessed 20 November 2014).

10 McGrath, M. “Green energy on the back foot after carbon trading blow,” BBC. 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22183232 (accessed 20 November 2014).

11 See also European Commission, “Strategic Energy Technologies Information System,” http://setis.ec.europa.eu/newsroom-items-folder/carbon-capture-and-storage-crossroads (accessed 20 November 2014).

Acheter

Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search