The House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has launched a probe into carbon capture and storage (CCS).

CCS theoretically involves capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal- and gas-fired power stations and storing the gas underground, potentially in empty gas wells under the North Sea.

The UK Government’s initial £1 billion CCS development competition was cancelled after the Treasury pulled its support, with the process having cost £68 million.

A second competition has resulted in the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) being criticised by the National Audit Office (NAO) for spending £100m but not achieving value for money.

Government should carry more risk

PAC said: “Following the competition, many stakeholders think the government should bear more risks, particularly over stored CO2.
“Government taking a greater share of the risk could reduce delivery costs but would expose taxpayers to losses in the event of risks materialising.

“The NAO found that flaws in the department’s design and implementation of its Levy Control Framework, which caps the costs of certain consumer-funded policies, also impacted on CCS investors’ confidence.”

> Submit evidence to the inquiry