35.We understand that Government has a difficult job to do when deciding where its limited public expenditure should be allocated. However, the manner in which the carbon capture and storage competition was cancelled, weeks before the final bids were to be submitted and without any prior indication given to the relevant parties, was both disappointing and damaging to the relationship between Government and industry.
36.In addition, the delay in bringing forward any subsequent plans for carbon capture and storage seems to be in direct contradiction with the direction of energy policy set out in the reset speech. With gas and without CCS, we will not remain on the least cost path to our statutory decarbonisation target. If Government is still committed to its decarbonisation targets, it cannot afford to sit back and simply wait and see if CCS will be deployed at the moment when it is needed. The challenging infrastructure surrounding the transport and storage of carbon needs to be considered far in advance of it being utilised and investors need the confidence that the UK is committed to a domestic CCS market. If Government does not come up with a clear strategy very soon, knowledge, investment, assets and expertise in the UK will all be lost.
37.We also note the December 2009 report by the working party, assembled by Lord Oxburgh, on ‘the arrangements needed to develop the infrastructure for carbon capture and storage in the UK’, which recommended setting up a National Carbon Storage Authority, and we urge the Government to give serious consideration to this recommendation.
Prepared 4 February 2016