South Wales makes strong case for investment in CO2 shipping infrastructure

A new study released on December 4 demonstrates a strong economic case for public investment into CO2 shipping infrastructure in South Wales.

Illustration. Image by Mitsubishi Shipbuilding

The study was released by Net Zero Industry Wales (NZIW), an independent membership body that supports and enables Welsh industries to deliver net zero.

It shows an economic case for investment in the infrastructure needed to facilitate the shipping of CO2 emissions from South Wales to other UK regions.

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Developed by NZIW in conjunction with RWE, Dragon LNG, Associated British Ports and 7CO2, the study highlights the economic benefits of such an investment in the form of safeguarded gross value added and job creation.

In the short term, the report calls on the UK Government to allow non-pipeline transport solutions (i.e. shipping) to bid in Track 2 of the cluster sequencing program.

As informed, benefits could be seen through South Wales’ high-value industrial base, reduced emissions, and employment in the construction and ongoing operation of new low-carbon facilities — all outweighing the costs of an end-to-end CO2 capture and transportation solution.

Carbon capture and storage (CCUS) technology will play an important role in decarbonizing heavy industry in South Wales — with investment into the infrastructure allowing captured CO2 to be shipped to stores in places like Scotland and Humber.

The study forecasts a net present value (NPV) of £8bn ($10.0 billion) against the total investment needed to support the development of CCUS infrastructure in South Wales.

More specifically, the report identifies the following benefits:

  • Emissions captured and shipped: cumulative volume of 164.1 million tonnes of CO2 captured during 2029-48 based on sector-specific emissions profiles and the balanced case.
  • Jobs: an additional 10,000 jobs to be created during the construction phase of the projects and 600 permanent new jobs once these projects are operational. These estimates are based on information shared by NZIW partners and extrapolated based on the South Wales emissions profile.
  • A solution to ship CO2 offers a way of reducing industrial emissions in South Wales whilst protecting the industrial base: without CCUS, industry in South Wales faces the prospect of becoming less competitive as carbon prices rise. A CO2 shipping solution is the only practical alternative for the region, avoiding the need for time-consuming, complex pipeline projects to connect South Wales with the Humber and Scotland.

“CO2 shipping is the switch we need to drive emissions reduction and boost economic growth across the south Wales region,” Ben Burggraaf, CEO of Net Zero Industry Wales, pointed out.

“Our report demonstrates a strong case for public investment into the infrastructure needed — and we hope we can count on the UK Government’s support to incorporate CO2 shipping into the ‘Track 2 process.’ This will enable us to kick-start the transformational change of our industrial landscape in Wales for the benefit of present and future generations, alike.”

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In related news, five European countries signed last week the Aalborg Declaration, taking an important step towards creating a European market for CCUS. The declaration was signed by Denmark, Germany, France, Sweden and the Netherlands.

This declaration, which is in line with the aim to accelerate the development of a European market for CCUS and associated infrastructure across national borders, underlines that CCUS is “a necessary climate tool,” according to the Danish Energy Agency.