A development project at Stanlow is a key part of the HyNet plans. Credit via Citypress

Boost for region’s HyNet decarbonisation cluster

The government has published its first framework for carbon capture, a £1bn support plan it said will bring “huge economic benefits to the North West”.

It is the government’s intention for carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) clusters to be developed in six locations by 2030, two of those by the mid-2020s.

The first phase of the assessment has now been completed, with the HyNet cluster in the North West and North Wales, along with the East Coast Cluster in Teesside and Humber selected as the initial areas for support.

CCUS is an emissions reduction technology to prevent large amounts of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. It forms a key part of the nation’s net zero ambitions, which is why the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy said £1bn will be invested in the clusters.

BEIS has now published the Dispatchable Power Agreement (DPA) – the UK’s first official CCUS business models and contract for industry – as a signal to industry that it is committed to developing carbon capture.

The department said that the contracts will define important UK business models, such as CO2 capture rates and testing requirements, so industry and investors have a solid policy framework to base their business and investment decisions upon, moving forward with confidence, knowing the UK Government is backing them step by step.

Importantly, these projects can provide non-weather dependant, low carbon and flexible generation capacity in periods when lower cost renewables or nuclear generation are insufficient to satisfy demand.

HyNet is a decarbonisation cluster initiative aimed at reducing carbon emissions across the region by 10m tonnes a year from 2030.  Within its scope, various projects have come forward including Essar and Progressive Energy’s Vertex Hydrogen hub at Stanlow and a 125km pipeline distribution scheme.

Investment in CCUS creates the potential for between 8,000 and 23,000 new energy jobs in connected activities, BEIS said.

Climate and energy minister Graham Stuart said: “Businesses need to know that the UK is the best place for carbon capture investment. Today we are giving one of our biggest signals to date, and showing that the UK’s CCUS industry is open for business.

“The North West cluster will play a pivotal role in securing the long-term competitiveness of the UK’s industrial heartlands, helping to ensure the carbon dioxide emitted by heavy industry is locked away and locally-produced green energy is generated instead.

“This will bring huge economic benefits to the North West of the UK, from creating new roles to safeguarding existing jobs while also attracting investment across North Wales through to Liverpool Bay.

“Today’s visibility of the Power CCUS business model contract will provide industry and private investors with a solid business foundation that can be developed across the North West, kicking off the development of world-leading CCUS projects.”

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By Digbuth O'Hooligan

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