The UK Government says a new carbon-capture usage and storage (CCUS) industry could support up to 50,000 jobs in the country by the end of this decade.

This emerged yesterday as new measures to propel Britain’s transition to a cleaner, affordable, home-grown energy system were announced.

The Energy Security Bill was introduced into Parliament by Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, and was described as the most significant piece of energy legislation in a decade.

Measures include accelerating the growth of low-carbon technologies, including CCUS and hydrogen.

Mr Kwarteng said: “To ensure we are no longer held hostage by rogue states and volatile markets, we must accelerate plans to build a truly clean, affordable, home-grown energy system in Britain.

“This is the biggest reform of our energy system in a decade. We’re going to slash red tape, get investment into the UK, and grab as much global market share as possible in new technologies to make this plan a reality.

“The measures in the Energy Security Bill will allow us to stand on our own two feet again, reindustrialise our economy and protect the British people from eye-watering fossil-fuel prices into the future.”

The Government says that CCUS – the process of capturing CO2 and permanently storing it deep underground – will be essential to meeting the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

Enabling infrastructure

It adds: “CO2 transport and storage networks will act as the enabling infrastructure for carbon capture and storage from a range of sources, including power plants, industrial facilities, low-carbon hydrogen production and potentially direct-air capture.

“For CCUS deployment in the UK to be successful, it is essential that there are sustainable funding models that can attract private finance at a cost that represents value for money to taxpayers and consumers.

“This Bill establishes a framework of economic regulation for the transport and storage of CO2, following consultation on commercial models to pull through the investment needed to deploy for CCUS at scale, and building upon improved understanding from previous competitions to mitigate the risks and technical and commercial challenges involved in deploying CCUS across the UK.

“The proposed CO2 transport and storage facilities supported by this Bill will establish a new CCUS industry across the UK which could support up to 50,000 jobs by 2030 and provide a total UK captured turnover of up to £8.3billion by 2050.”

UK company Storegga is a key partner of a portfolio of carbon-capture and hydrogen-production proposals known as the Scottish Cluster.

The heart of the cluster is known as Acorn, which takes in key facilities across the north-east, as well as former oil and gas pipelines and North Sea sites that could be used to store CO2 permanently and safely.

Huge dismay met the UK Government’s decision to snub the north-east in a £1billion funding competition last year which saw rival projects in England successful, leaving the Scottish Cluster as a reserve.

Storegga founder Alan James said yesterday: “It’s great to see a continued drive for industrial decarbonisation using carbon capture and storage front and centre of the Government’s Energy Security Bill, alongside the critical role of renewables deployment and efficiency drives.

Not well placed

“However, only two CO2 transport and storage infrastructure systems are progressing towards operation, and they are not well placed to provide all UK solutions.

“Nor are the two existing clusters well positioned to access the huge export market that European industrial emissions presents.

“We are calling on the Government to open up the track process for the next CCS clusters as soon as possible, and certainly before the summer recess, so that the UK can move forward quickly to decarbonise our own industrial base and create a valuable export service revenue by storing emissions from our European industrial neighbours.”