A newly published independent research report, titled “UK Cluster potential – how the UK can lead the world in Carbon Capture and Storage,” conducted by Development Economics, sheds light on the substantial economic potential of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Clusters in the United Kingdom. Commissioned by the Drax Group, the report indicates that an accelerated and expanded approach to CCS Clusters could contribute an additional £32 billion (€36.7 billion) to the UK economy from 2050 onwards.
The research underscores that the most optimistic scenario envisions not only enhanced domestic energy security but also robust economic growth and the establishment of the UK as a global leader in carbon capture and removal technology. The realization of this scenario relies on policy changes that can stimulate investment and provide clarity on the development of CCS Clusters. These proposed changes encompass finalizing CCS business and financial models, confirming the role of the UK ETS scheme and voluntary carbon markets in supporting CCS investments, and offering near-term incentives for prospective storage operators to assess storage locations, building on recent North Sea Transition Authority licensing rounds.
The North of England is projected to be the region that stands to benefit the most, with the potential to add £22 billion (€25.2 billion) to the economy annually from 2050 onward, along with the creation of 330,000 additional jobs.
The report also examines the economic implications of two alternative scenarios, one where the UK fulfills its current CCS policy commitments and another where it does not. In the event that the UK achieves its ambitions, it could contribute an additional £23 billion (€26.3 billion) annually from 2050 and create an extra 310,000 jobs.
However, the Climate Change Committee's recent progress report has raised concerns about the delay in the rollout of CCS. Development Economics' research underscores that if the UK fails to deliver on its CCS policy commitments, the economic consequences could be severe.
Richard Gwilliam, UK BECCS program director at Drax Group, emphasized the transformative potential of carbon capture and removals, stating, “This research demonstrates that if the UK puts its foot on the accelerator and expands the rollout of CCS Clusters across the country, a unique prize worth tens of billions of pounds to the economy and hundreds of thousands of jobs is within reach.”
Steve Lucas, director at Development Economics, highlighted the substantial opportunity for the UK to lead in carbon capture and storage, provided there is ambition, clarity, and government support. The report's roadmap, if followed, could lead to significant economic and environmental benefits for the UK.