Sectoral marine plan for offshore wind energy: social and economic impact assessment scoping report

Sets out the methodology and scenarios for scoping and undertaking a socio-economic impact assessment.

A.4. Carbon Capture and Storage

A.4.1 Sector Definition

This sector relates to a carbon abatement technology that enables fossil fuels to be used with substantially reduced carbon dioxide ( CO 2) emissions. Carbon capture and storage ( CCS) combines three distinct processes: capturing the CO 2 from power stations and other industrial sources, transporting it (usually via pipelines) to storage points, then injection of the CO 2 into deep geological formations ( e.g. deep saline aquifers or depleted oil and gas fields) for permanent storage

A.4.2 Overview of Activity

Although CCS is an active field of research and development and a growing industry with 15 large-scale CCS projects in operation globally, there are currently no full-scale CCS demonstration projects in operation at coal- or gas-fired power plants within the UK.

In 2007, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform ( BERR) launched its first competition for the UK Government to support the development of CCS projects in the UK. However, this was cancelled in 2011 before funds were awarded. In 2012 the Department launched a commercialisation 'competition', with the aim to see CCS projects developed before 2020. The two preferred bidders that undertook design and engineering stage research and development had been identified for the second CCS Competition: (1) Shell's Peterhead CCS project; and (2) Capture Power Limited's White Rose CCS project. The Peterhead CCS project involved capturing around 85% of the CO 2 from an existing combined cycle gas turbine ( CCGT) power station at Peterhead (Aberdeenshire, Scotland), before transporting it offshore and storing it in the Goldeneye depleted gas field 2.5 km beneath the North Sea. The White Rose CCS project involved capturing around 90% of the CO 2 from a new super-efficient coal-fired power station at the Drax site in North Yorkshire, before transporting offshore and storing it in a saline rock formation beneath the North Sea. However, as part of the 2015 Spending Review, the UK Government announced the £1 billion capital funding allocated to the second competition was no longer available (National Audit Office, 2017).

With regard to future trends, the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee (2016) reported on the future of CCS in the UK, suggesting that a new strategy for CCS (in conjunction with a new gas strategy) should be promptly devised. Deloitte (2016) reviewed the situation for CCS in the UK since Government funding was withdrawn in late 2015 and made a number of conclusions and recommendations. This included the need to address uncertainty that currently exists within the CCS industry and consider a wider strategic approach to develop a CO 2 transport and industrial network that connects locations (actual or planned) of major power generation plants and industrial facilities with storage sites.

There is also currently a high level of uncertainty about the future location and scale of CCS activity in UK seas. Initially, attention is likely to focus on carbon storage in depleted oil and gas fields, but other structures such as saline aquifers could also be used. It may also be possible to combine permanent storage of CO 2 with the enhanced production of hydrocarbons. A project commissioned by the Energy Technologies Institute ( ETI) evaluated five potential offshore, subsurface stores of CO 2 emissions, selected for their potential contribution to mobilising commercial-scale CCS projects in the UK. This included two open saline aquifers off the Scottish coast (Captain X and Forties 5 Site 1, both in the Central North Sea) as well as two depleted gas fields (Viking A in the Southern North Sea and Hamilton) in the East Irish Sea and one aquifer with structural closures (Bunter Closure 36) in the Southern North Sea. The project confirmed that there are no major technical hurdles to moving industrial scale CO 2 storage forward in the UK. The UK offshore environment could form the basis of a storage resource that could service the needs of many parts of Europe in addition to the UK (Pale Blue Dot Energy, 2016).

Figure A.4.1 shows an overview of carbon capture and storage potential with respect to the location of saline aquifers. Information sources that can be used in the assessment are listed in Table A.4.1.

Figure A.4.1 Location of saline aquifers
Figure A.4.1 Location of saline aquifers

Table A.4.1 Information sources for CCS

Data Available Information Source
Outputs of collaborative research projects to facilitate the development of CCS in Scotland (2009-2015) Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage website:
Carbon Capture and Storage – opportunities for Scotland in the emerging CCS industry Scottish Enterprise website: Knowledge Hub:
Strategic UK CCS Storage Appraisal Pale Blue Dot Energy, 2016

A.4.3 Potential Interactions with Offshore Wind

Table A.4.2 shows potential interaction pathways between potential CCS storage sites and offshore wind arrays and export cables. Based on the approach to scoping described in Section 2 in the main report, the table also records whether the interaction:

  • Is not likely to result in a significant socio-economic impact on the sector; or
  • Is likely to result in a significant socio-economic impact on the sector and hence will require a detailed assessment;

The rationale underlying this expert judgement is provided in the table. Where it is not currently possible to make a judgement regarding the likelihood of a significant socio-economic impact due to insufficient information (for example, in relation to the extent of overlap between a sector activity and the DPO Areas) the table indicates that scoping will be required to be undertaken once sufficient information becomes available. Furthermore, as described in the main report, there is currently no information regarding the likely location of export cable routes/corridors and as such, it is not possible to undertake a meaningful assessment of the potential for any sector activity/export cable interaction to give rise to significant socio-economic effects. Rather, the potential for any interaction will be identified in Regional Locational Guidance.

Table A.4.2 Potential interaction pathways

Potential Interaction

Technology Aspect and Phase

Potential Socio-economic Consequences

Initial Scoping Assessment

Competition for space (sterilization of seabed potential storage areas/obstruction of potential pipeline routes)

Arrays (construction and operation)

Development constrained through increased costs and a deterrent to investment.

Reduction in future employment opportunities

Any potential significant impact would only be expected where DPO areas overlapped with, or were located inshore of, identified deep geological formations (saline aquifers or depleted oil and gas fields). Where only a small area of DPO area overlapped with a potentially suitable geological formation, it would be assumed that spatial planning could be used to avoid significant impacts.

Scoping assessment to be completed once DPOs defined.

Export cables (operation)

Increased costs associated with any required 'crossing' of CCS pipeline/infrastructure with any export cables linking the DPO areas to land

Any potential significant impact would only be expected where export cable corridors overlapped with, or were located inshore of, identified deep geological formations (saline aquifers or depleted oil and gas fields).

Export cable routes are uncertain. Constraints inshore of DPOs will be identified in the RLG.

No detailed assessment possible.

A.4.4 Scoping Methodology

The spatial overlap between DPOs and potential CCS storage locations to be assessed, once DPO areas are available.

A.4.5 Assessment Methodology

If a significant interaction between DPOs and potential CCS storage locations is identified through scoping, further consideration will be given to the potential socio-economic impacts in consultation with the Carbon Capture & Storage Association ( CCSA).

A.4.6 Data Limitations

There are no commercial scale CCS projects in the UK and uncertainty remains regarding the economic viability and the future location and scale of CCS activity in the UK.


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