Supplementary evidence from the Government,
letter from Malcolm Wicks MP, Minister of State for Energy
I am writing in response to your request, at
the Science and Technology Committee meeting of 14 December, to
give an indication of the timescales my Department is working
to in order to clarify the regulatory frameworks affecting carbon
capture and storage (CCS) technology.
As I stressed to the Committee we are still
at an early stage in considering the full-scale deployment of
CCS and therefore it is unrealistic to give precise timescales
or targets. Indeed several of the relevant regulations are international
and will need wider agreement, taking account of the concerns
and aspirations of other parties to these treaties.
As we discussed during oral evidence the key
areas requiring additional/modified regulation are:
London and OSPAR conventions that
are designed to control marine pollution.
Regulating the abandonment and long-term
liability for geological storage sites for CO2.
Monitoring and verification standards
for CCS to participate in the EU Emission Trading Scheme (EU-ETS).
My department's submission to your inquiry,
and our CAT Strategy, set out how these treaties impact on CCS
such that certain methods for sub-seabed storage of CO2
are permitted while others are not. This reflects the fact that
both treaties were established before CCS was identified as an
option to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
We are working with other parties to the treaties
to achieve appropriate revisions, starting with the London Convention
and its 1996 Protocol. The 27th Consultative Meeting of the London
Convention established a process to consider whether the Convention
and Protocol, needed to be clarified and/or amended, in order
to facilitate or regulate CCS in sub-seabed geological structures.
A meeting is planned for April 2006, which will report to the
28th Consultative Meeting in October 2006, at which Parties will
consider and decide on what clarifications or amendments are needed.
The timescale for change will be influenced by the type of amendment
agreed. Some changes would require ratification by Parties, but
others could be agreed within the annual Consultative Meetings.
The best estimate at this stage is that the process could take
two to three years.
This has been recognised as a gap in UK regulation.
My officials have discussed options with regulatory bodies, and
are examining options, which will need to take account of existing
and prospective EU Directives.
It is not possible to give timescales at this
stage of the work, though I recognise the need a for satisfactory
way forward for CCS projects, including the forthcoming BP/Peterhead
project, to proceed.
EU ETS- MONITORING
Monitoring and verification standards and methods
need to be agreed before CCS projects can participate in the EU-ETS.
The UK has taken an active lead on this by commissioning a report
on options with input from other Member States. The European Commission
has decided to take this forward as part of the European Climate
Change Programme, and is establishing a Working Group on CCS which
will meet during February to May of 2006. This group will produce
policy recommendations on EC/EU regulation of CCS, including arrangements
for its inclusion in the EU ETS.
I hope this information is helpful to the Committee.
As I stressed during our meeting CCS has come a long way over
the last two years, but there is still much to be done.