A new report has suggested the pursuit of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology in the UK could create a new £15bn-35bn industry: With the creation of the industry possibly helping save money on energy bills too.
The study, conducted on behalf of the CCS Association - the industry representative - and the TUC, claims such a push could create jobs for tens of thousands of people. In the long run, it could potentially help save as much as £80 on energy bills the report concludes.
TUC general secretary, Frances O'Grady, said Britain is one of the best areas to exploit such technology.
She said: "CCS offers a way to meet our environmental targets, while creating thousands of skilled, well-paid jobs and transforming regional economies.
"New CCS plants would create thousands of new jobs and safeguard many more in energy-intensive industries such as steel, chemicals and cement."
She warned unless stronger government for CSS arose, the UK was at risk of losing its, "competitive advantage and all the jobs and economic activity that CCS could bring."
CCS is the process of capturing carbon dioxide emissions from industrial plants, especially those using fossil fuel such as coal, and piping the gases into storage underground or under the sea.
The UK is already obliged to reduce the level of carbon emissions produced in the country as part of EU regulations and a continued focus on fossil fuels is only likely to heighten the needs for limitation. Due to the level of cost involved in adding the elements to power stations however, CCS has yet to really take off.
However, the renewed push for CCS emphasised in the report would help keep greenhouse gas emissions in check as well as creating a new multi-billion industry. This in turn could help reduce energy bills by as much as £80, however this is not guaranteed due to the temperamental nature of the energy market.
A Department for Energy and Climate Change spokesman added: "CCS has the potential to make an important contribution to the UK's decarbonisation efforts.
"We have put in place one of the best offers to support the technology in the world, with £1bn of capital funding available, operating support through the contracts for difference in our electricity market reforms and a £125m R&D programme."
The CCS Association hopes to have a number of large-scale plants created, with a target of 15 to 25 in place by 2030. Each plant would create upwards of 1,500 jobs during construction, dropping down to a few hundred once the plant is operational.
Any decision on the likelihood of pushing forward with development of a CCS industry is unlikely to be made before late 2015. A further five years would then be required for things to become operational.
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