White Rose Project is Denied Consent

           Carbon and Climate

The Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, has denied development consent to the White Rose Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project because it does not have sufficient funding. The Government cancelled its support for CCS last November, when it was announced that the £1 billion budget for a CCS competition would no longer be available, and the project has not found alternative backing to fill the gap.

The National Audit Office (NAO) is currently reviewing the Government’s decision to withdraw funding for the CCS program and to suspend the competition. It will consider what impacts the decision will have on DECC’s objectives of decarbonisation and security of supply, as well as the costs incurred in running the latest competition. The NAO will publish its findings this summer.

CCS captures carbon from the burning of coal or gas and transports it to a storage facility where it is stored safely underground in a geological formation such as depleted oil or gas fields or salt caverns. There are different technologies that can be adopted for the capture stage: pre-combustion capture, post-combustion capture and oxy-fuel combustion systems.

It was intended that the White Rose Project would demonstrate oxy-fuel CCS technology that burns fuel in a modified combustion environment with the resulting combustion gases being high in CO2 concentration, which allows the CO2 produced to be captured without the need for additional chemical separation before being piped for storage. It would have formed part of a state-of-the-art 448 MW coal-fired plant to be developed by Capture Power, a company formed by GE, Drax, and BOC. The proposed plant, which would have captured 90% of the CO2 emissions, was to be built next to the existing Drax power station.

The Government has previously said that that while it has not ruled out CCS, it is too expensive to support at present, indicating that it will revisit the technology once other countries have developed it further. CCS remains an important priority for China, where demonstration projects are already under operation, and the goal is for commercial CCS to be ready by 2030.

CCS is an important tool in meeting annual emissions targets, as projections show that existing measures will not result in the required reductions being achieved. The Climate Change Committee, which advises the government on carbon budgets, sees CCS as playing an important role in reducing the carbon intensity of output from both the power generation and industrial sectors.

CCS could also play an important part in the decarbonisation of heat. For example, the Northern Gas Network has received funding from Ofgem to develop the idea of converting the city of Leeds to run on hydrogen for all domestic gas boilers and cookers by 2025-30. Plans are to take methane from natural gas in the grid and convert it to hydrogen by removing and storing the carbon.

The Energy and Climate Change Committee will soon publish its report, “Setting the Fifth Carbon Budget” following an inquiry and advice received from the Committee on Climate Change. By law, the government is required to set carbon budgets for five-year periods. The fifth budget will run from 2028 to 2032, which the Climate Change Committee recommends is set at a 57% reduction in emissions between 1990 and 2030.

Sources: UK Parliament,,,, Global CC Institute, PRASEG

Nikki Wilson

Nikki joined Alfa Energy in September 2015 as a Carbon Management Consultant where she advises clients on legislation, compliance, and the implementation of carbon management schemes. She is a Practitioner member of IEMA, has a postgraduate diploma in Environmental Decision Making, and has over 15 years’ experience in energy consultancy.