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Carbon Capture for coal-fired power stations "won't work until 2030"

February 27, 2009 12:03 PM

The government is gearing up to grant planning applications for a new generation of coal-fired power stations like Kingsnorth in Kent, site of last summer's Climate Camp. The Lib Dem national position is that new coal-fired generating capacity - which has the capacity to completely derail any attempts to reduce our greenhouse gases - should not be commissioned without carbon capture and storage technology being fitted.

That's absolutely the right policy. But some of us have been warning anyone that will listen that this technology is years if not decades away. Now Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, has come out publicly and said that coal plants fitted with carbon capture & storage (CCS) equipment are unlikely to be ready to make big cuts in Britain's emissions before 2030.

Mr Laidlow was quoted in today's Guardian as saying that "the UK's geology is not suited to the technology, which is expensive and unproven." This meant it would take "at least 15 years and probably closer to 20 years" before companies were in a position to deploy the technology on a large scale, he added.

In the mean time, if the government allows new coal-fired capacity to come online without CCS, and permits the expansion of British airports, then we can wave bye-bye to any chance of the UK reducing its carbon emissions.

Read more in The Guardian here: www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/feb/26/centrica-british-gas-green-jobs