The European Commission has officially recommended providing Powerfuel Power with €180 million (£156 million) to install carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) at its coal-fired power station at Hatfield in Yorkshire – which would make it Britain's first

Documents presented to the European Parliament and made public yesterday (October 19) confirmed that the Hatfield scheme has been judged as the third best in Europe by the European Commission and is likely to be awarded the money under the European Energy Programme for Recovery fund.

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It beat off rival UK applications for money for CCS development at Longannet and the proposed new power station at Kingsnorth. It had been tipped as the winner earlier this month.

“Yorkshire is the best location in Britain from which to start CCS development” Chris Davies, MP

Powerfuel Power plans to install a 900 MW carbon capture and storage (CCS) system at its integrated coal gasification combined cycle power system in Hatfield.

The Commission describes its use of coal gasification and pre-combustion capture as “a highly innovative concept” and has evaluated the proposal as “very good.”

The European Commission is set to allocate €1 billion (£958 million) for CCS schemes across Europe, with €180m (£156m) being given to one project in the UK.

The Commission presented its proposals to a confidential meeting of technical experts from European governments on October 2. One week later power company E.ON announced that it was deferring its plan to build the new Kingsnorth facility but did not reveal that it had failed to qualify for money from the European economic recovery programme.

Stimulus

The fact that work can begin almost immediately boosted the Hatfield scheme, as one criteria for allocation of money was the economic stimulus it may provide.

Chris Davies, the British Liberal Democrat Euro-MP who steered CCS legislation through the European Parliament last year, said he was hugely excited by the news.

He said: “CCS is moving off the drawing board and into practical application. It’s a technology that has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere by a vast amount.

“Yorkshire is the best location in Britain from which to start CCS development. A network of pipelines connecting power plants and major industrial installations in the area could allow us to divert 70m tonnes of CO2 annually within 15 years,” he added.

National Grid has declared its interest in building the infrastructure to transport CO2 from plants across Yorkshire and Humberside to offshore storage sites in former gas bearing rock below the North Sea.

Yorkshire Liberal Democrat MEP Diana Wallis commented: “This announcement should be welcomed as being great news for the region’s economy and for combating global climate change.

“Hopefully, it will be the first of many such projects as the idea is to develop a ‘Humber Cluster’ of CCS projects that within 15 years could curb the emission of up to 70 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. It should put Yorkshire and the Humber squarely on the map as an important centre for this increasingly important technology,” she added.

The documents made public yesterday also reveal the location of recommended CCS plants in the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Spain, and Italy.

Offshore wind

Money is also being made available to promote offshore wind projects, with the Commission recommending that €74m (£67.5 million) be allocated to provide a 600MW high voltage electricity link between Shetland and the Scottish mainland. The scheme is said to be a major technological innovation that has the potential to serve tidal and wave energy as well as new windfarms.

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