The White Rose Carbon Capture and Storage Project
After news that eight renewable energy projects were potentially going ahead, The White Rose project has now been confirmed to receive a development fund of £238m for its construction.
The green energy project will pump CO2 from the nearby Drax power plant and a new plant under construction under the North Sea to be stored, rather than add to carbon emissions.
The Drax plant is converting 50% of generation from a coal-fired plant into biomass, which is combusting organic material for energy, in this case wood pellets. A new coal plant is to also be built in line with the scheme which will provide electricity for 630,000 homes.
Drax is currently the UK’s largest power station, providing 7% of the UK’s electricity, so the move has not been taken lightly.
Green Energy Gets EU Boost
The EU programme which decides where to allocate funding for green energy projects, last year none were deemed worthy, so the standard is extremely high. This year, White Rose was the only carbon capture project across the whole of Europe to get funding, demonstrating its value to the UK.
The project was put forward as on the current track, the UK will not meet its carbon emission reduction targets, resulting in fines from the EU, but more importantly damaging the planet and thus lives of all of us.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: “This is great news for Yorkshire and for Britain”, claiming it will “create thousands of green, local jobs and make a real difference to cutting carbon emissions.”
What is Carbon Capture and Storage?
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is almost like a form of waste management for energy generation. It isn’t a green energy source per say, but it helps reduce the environmental impact of fossil fuels. When coal or biomass is used to generate electricity, carbon dioxide is produced due to the combustion. Usually this is released into the atmosphere in what are known as ‘carbon emissions’, contributing to global warming and damaging the environment.
CCS, as the name suggests, captures released CO2 and stores it in a safe manner to reduce or eliminate its contribution to global warming. In this case, the CO2 is made into a liquid and will be pumped into porous rock under the North Sea.
National Grid will construct a pipeline to stretch from Drax for 40 miles underground across Yorkshire, into the sea at Barmston, in order to deliver the CO2 under the sea.
Implications for UK Energy Policy
The move will help the UK hit its targets to reduce carbon emissions, which will likely spur on justification for the government’s desire to invest heavily in shale gas. Which arguably can be used to buy us time while investing in renewable energy, but considering the seeming hatred of renewable energy the current government has (RIP vote blue to go green), excuse us if we remain sceptical.