There have been many developments in Europe since 2011 which clearly illustrate the role governments and other public bodies can play in influencing the progress of technology (Figure 14).

In the UK, there was broad and strong political support for CCS, the transposition of the European Union’s (EU) CCS Directive, and the re-launch of its €1 billion CCS competition, even though two projects were cancelled (Longannet and Peel Energy). In Germany, the transposition of the CCS Directive was much delayed, resulting in a draft law with more restrictive conditions and financial support more limited to research activities. As a result, one of Europe’s most advanced CCS demonstration projects, Vattenfall’s Jänschwalde project, was cancelled and withdrawn from the EU’s New Enterants’ Reserve 300 (NER300) funding program.

In April 2012, the UK re-launched its CCS competition – a ‘CCS Commercialisation Programme’ – with £1 billion of funding to support upfront costs and additional support through ‘low carbon contracts for difference’. The competition closed to bids in July 2012 and it is widely expected that the five projects remaining in the NER300 program have placed bids. The new competition was open to both solid and gas-fired electricity generators and industrial CO2 emitters. Storage is to be offshore and the plants are to be commercial scale and operational by 2020. A further £125 million would be available for a CCS research and innovation program.

For other European countries involved in CCS activities, the main focus of interest has continued to be the ECs NER300 program. There are still 10 candidate projects in this competition and the release by the Commission of a Working Document setting out the ‘current order of selection’ and a reserve list in July 2012 fuelled increased discussion around this program. The first project on the list is the Don Valley IGCC project (UK) followed by the Bełchatów CCS project (Poland). Both of these projects could expect to receive NER300 co-funding, subject to the availability of sufficient other funds to cover the remaining 50 per cent of the costs of the CCS part of their project and the confirmation of co-funding by their Member State. A third project, the Air Liquide industrial application Green Hydrogen CCS project (the Netherlands), may also be funded. A final decision on project funding will be taken towards the end of 2012. In the meantime, the Commission continues to strongly advocate CCS as an important part of its low-carbon economy future.

The NER300 program has been impacted by the low carbon price over recent months during the period when the European Investment Bank (EIB) tendered the first 200 million allowance units to fund the program. As a result, less money has been raised than expected. Funding is presently estimated to be between £1.3–1.5 billion, a portion of which will also be spent on innovative renewable energy projects.

Two major LSIPs outside the NER300 program, the ROAD project in the Netherlands and the OXYCFB 300 Compostilla project in Spain have made progress. The ROAD project received a positive opinion by the European Commission concerning its planned storage site (the first such opinion applied for under the CCS Directive), while the Compostilla project made progress in developing its geologic storage sites in the Duero Basin, both in the area of Sahagún for the commercial storage site and at the underground laboratory site of Hontomín.

Furthermore, there have been significant technological developments, including the opening of the TCM in May 2012. There has been a marked increase in interest in the possible application of CCS to a number of bio-energy projects that could lead to the development of carbon-negative projects in the future, in particular in the Baltic region and Romania.

Despite the progress made, the EC policy objective of having up to 12 commercial-scale demonstration plants operating in Europe by 2015 is no longer achievable, with 4–5 projects operating in the next 5–6 years being a more realistic scenario.

FIGURE 14 Europe map of LSIPs