Biomass UK, the REA’s members forum for biomass power, responds to Government’s decision on which carbon capture and storage projects they are taking forward under the ‘Track – 1’ allocation process.

This includes the disappointing decisions to not yet advance Drax and Lynemouth, two of the most advanced bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) projects in the world. This further postpones the delivery of BECCS in the UK, while countries like the US are providing direct support for their delivery. 

At the same time, medium scale BECCS projects are also advancing, but have not yet been provided any indication of a route to market in future CCS allocation rounds. With 2GW of smaller scale biomass capacity in the UK, which could deliver as much as 6 MtCO2e of carbon removals per year, it is essential that clear routes to market are urgently delivered.

The Government’s decision is despite BECCS being the only technology able to deliver negative emissions and low carbon power generation. Negative emissions see carbon that is absorbed by trees during their growth, be captured and actively removed from the carbon cycle. This is separate to capturing carbon from fossil fuels, where the captured carbon comes from sources that would have remained under-the-ground had the fossil fuel not been used. Negative emissions are critical to the delivery of net-zero, working in conjunction with fast emission reductions.

Today’s delay further detracts from the UK market, and puts viable BECCS projects at all scales at risk.

Mark Sommerfeld, Head of Power and Flexibility, for Biomass UK said:

“It is frustrating that Government continues to string out its decision making on how it wishes to deliver bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS). BECCS is the only carbon capture solution that actively leads to negative emissions while also generating low carbon power. Earlier this month, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) reiterated that the delivery of BECCS was critical to realising our 2050 net zero targets and delivery of a decarbonised power system by 2035.

“While other nations such as the US are surging ahead in directly supporting BECCS, utilising expertise fostered in the UK, the Government have again postponed its decision on delivering two of largest and most advanced BECCS projects in the world.

“At the same time, since the Government has made their initial assessment, BECCS projects on a range of medium size biomass sites have also significantly advanced but have not yet been given any indication of a clear route to market, despite the 2 GW of installed capacity and significant potential for realising carbon removals. Such projects must be clearly included in future allocation processes for carbon capture support.

“These delays are stopping investors from committing to the UK while also being attracted to other markets. Government must now address these delays and make clear how they intend to see BECCS delivered at a range of scales as matter of urgency.”