Bishop of Chester presses Government on carbon capture during Infrastructure Bill debate

On 10th November 2014, the Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, took part in the Report Stage of the Government’s Infrastructure Bill. He asked the Minister a number of questions regarding the UK’s carbon reduction commitment, carbon capture by power stations, and the UK’s strategy for oil and gas extraction. The amendments that the Bishop spoke to were withdrawn following the brief debate.

14.03 Bishop of ChesterThe Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, can I ask the Minister when she responds to comment on two points? First, if we are now to be committed in this legally strengthened way to the maximum economic exploration of our oil and gas reserves, how do the Government see that to be compatible with the commitment under the Climate Change Act to reduce our emissions to only 20% of the 1990 level by 2050 without also having a strategy for carbon capture and storage, which I think lies behind the amendment?

Secondly, the amendment refers to the economic extraction of our hydrocarbons—I have never yet heard any reliable estimate of what the additional cost will be of having carbon capture and storage on a typical power station, be it a coal station or a gas station. What level of increase per kilowatt hour—in a unit that can be easily understood—is anticipated if carbon capture and storage is required on such stations? That impacts on what is economically recoverable.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): …The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chester asked how this would help us to meet our emissions reduction aims as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008. Implementing recommendations contained in the Wood review will be done in a way compatible with the legally binding climate change targets. Our overarching energy strategy seeks to underpin secure and diverse energy supplies, including renewable, nuclear and indigenous resources. The carbon plan has shown that Britain will still need significant oil and gas supplies over the next decades while we decarbonise our economy and make a transition to a low-carbon one; projections show that in 2030 oil and gas will still be a vital part of the energy mix, providing around 70% of the UK’s primary energy requirements as we seek that transition.

The right reverend Prelate also asked about the costs of carbon capture. If he and noble Lords would allow it I would like to write to him and ensure that the Committee gets sight of the letter…


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