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UK CCS and the energy mix

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Carbon capture and storage

In June of this year the British Geological Survey (BGS) and The Crown Estate launched a new website which will be used as an evaluation database and for map plotting and monitoring areas around the UK that can be used as CCS facilities. There are approximately 500 potential carbon dioxide storage units in the database that are all located offshore and include oil and gas reservoirs and saline aquifers.

The original data for the website was developed by the UK Storage Appraisal Project which was funded by the Energy Technologies Institute. The website is going to be updated and developed between 2013 and 2018 with special attention being paid to the data stored and functionality to meet the needs of the CCS sector. The site has already launched a new interactive map, which provides in depth information on the storage characteristics of the UK’s geology.

The launch of this map and the development of the database and website is key as UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, has only just recently spoken of the importance of CCS in the UK’s future energy mix. Davey believes that if the UK is to meet future emissions targets then CCS will play an important role.

Future energy mix

Gas is playing a more prominent role in the global energy mix than possibly ever before, and this is particularly so for the US. UK manufacturers are now seeing the impact of cheap gas in the US and are suffering from the advantages their competitors over the pond are benefiting from. This is spurring on the argument for shale gas to be explored and produced in the UK, and it is possible that this will be looked at in more detail. Renewables bodies are also keen to explore gas further as it is the cleanest burning fossil fuel and some, such as RenewableUK, have heralded it as a transition fuel on the road to increased renewable energy use. However, with great public opposition to fracking and the government’s opposition to new renewable targets for 2030 that are being discussed in Brussels and are likely to over take the 2020 target of 20% renewable energy, the UK’s energy future is definitely uncertain at the moment. 

Edited from various sources by Claira Lloyd.

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