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Climate tummy tickling

The Labour party has called for all new gas-fired power stations to be fitted with carbon capture and storage (CCS) after 2020. As the Independent reports, this will double the price of the electricity they produce.

Labour has put itself on a fresh collision course with the Government over its dash-for-gas policy, proposing that after 2020 all new gas-fired power plants be forced to install technology to reduce their carbon emissions that will double the cost of the electricity they produce.

Oh yes, and carbon capture and storage has not actually been made to work in the UK yet - they think maybe they'd like to get a demonstrator up and running in a few years' time.

I think it's fair to say this announcement represents a case of tickling the tummies of some swing voters rather than a serious policy proposal.

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Reader Comments (28)

Labour is still the party of the down-trodden masses, isn't it? Why else would they want to double the price of electricity?

Jan 30, 2013 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Surely it's time to get rid of these useless career politicians.

Jan 30, 2013 at 10:10 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

It's time for some politicians to be compulsorily fitted with Carbon Capture & Storage. Their gaseous emissions are broadly similar to those of a gas-fired power station operating at stoichiometric combustion.

Jan 30, 2013 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

If Abdussamatov is right, and he has been so far, Labour could well be demanding increased CO2 emissions to try and slow down the cooling

Full pdf available from here

Jan 30, 2013 at 10:49 AM | Registered CommenterPharos

I think Green schemers dream of high energy prices to help deal with the 'problem' of the 'masses', Roy, and they have the Labour Party under their thumb. And most of the rest of the Left as far as I can see.

And speaking as one of the 'masses', I don't like it one bit!

Jan 30, 2013 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

"Oh yes, and carbon capture and storage has not actually been made to work in the UK yet"

Has it been made to work anywhere?

That is 'successfully work', rather than 'unsuccessfully work', which is where it didn't work at all but all available grants were received to generously cover costs and have some left over for those exposed to the large investment risks involved.

Jan 30, 2013 at 10:58 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

The Labour MP in the neighbouring constituency to mine (also Labour) keeps writing in the local rag about the damage being done by Govt policies and the increase in fuel poverty arising therefrom. I'll be scanning the paper this weekend to see if he can bring himself to criticise his own party for making things even worse, but I'm not holding my breath.

Jan 30, 2013 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan_UK

And another thing - in the same paper there's an article on resistance to nuclear waste storage in Cumbria. Do I misunderstand, or is nuclear waste simply stored, rather than contained at great pressure, as carbon dioxide would be? Shouldn't the same concern being expressed about nuclear waste storage be extended, or even switched, to plans to inflate the earth with carbon dioxide?

Jan 30, 2013 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan_UK

Re: Ian_UK

You might like this:

Jan 30, 2013 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Let's not forget that Ed Millispend was responsible for much of our present energy policy, if you could call it that: subsidies; feed-in tariffs; biofuels; biomass; CCS pilots (failed). So that'll be fine if he gets to govern.

Jan 30, 2013 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeH

Can someone help me with this? Paragraph one of the Independent report states:
"after 2020 all new gas-fired power plants be forced to install technology to reduce their carbon emissions that will double the cost of the electricity they produce."

but a later para. has
"Although the Energy Bill will require all new coal-fired power stations to be fitted with CCS after 2020, existing ones will be exempt, while no gas station would be obliged to use the technology until at least 2045."

So are they saying gas fired stations must fit CCS if built after 2020, but won't have to use it till 2045? Sounds mad. And do they realise gas-fired station only last about 25 years?

Jan 30, 2013 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Yet again the political classes demonstrate their unfitness for office.

They simply do not understand what they are braying about.

The thing that truly rubs salt in is that the supporting public executive are probably worse and they can't be removed via the ballot box or P45'd for incompetence or worse.

I think it's fairly safe to predict that the £1billion will be frittered away on meetings, Powerpoint and conferences / seminars in expensive resort hotels where the details of sunbeams and cucumbers will be "discussed" at least while there's still some money left for the bar bill.

Woeful, just woeful.

Jan 30, 2013 at 12:38 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Mister Bishop:
I encourage you, and all other readers of this blog, to inquire about the Norwegian CCS-program.

As a result of imagined Norwegian intellectual superiority, the then ruling government (around 2000) decided that a new large gas powered electricity plant at Mongstad should develop and install CCS. After the use of 20 billion Norwegian crowns, the equivalent of 2 billion British pounds, they have yet to complete a working technology.

Do a quick search on google with the words: ccs mongstad

Jan 30, 2013 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterHLx

Will you please stop giving the game away? The idea behind the three-card trick or Find the Lady or the pea under the thimble (pick your own variation) is that the mark is not supposed spot the con.
It's typical of the Independent of course not to play the game — the Guardian would never have let the side down like that!

Jan 30, 2013 at 12:57 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

The reason that there is, so far, no viable scheme in place for Carbon Capture and Storage is simple: it WON'T WORK.
Think about it logically. You pump gas under high pressure underground - with the ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that it won't leak out. Who's going to guarantee that - particularly on multiple sites, on a huge variety of geological strata..?
Another question which I haven't seen answered yet: the UK experiences around 400 earthquakes annually. Shale gas extraction has been blamed for creating earthquakes (they could have been part of the 400; who knows..?) but again, is someone going to guarantee that pumping gas at high pressure underground is not going to cause more earthquakes..?

Jan 30, 2013 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

The main reason I abandoned labour.

They don't understand that socialist's don't take from the poor to give to the rich.

Jan 30, 2013 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

Are you suggesting that gas-fired power stations have the same lifespan as wind farms..?
Any fule kno (to quote the late great Ronald Searle) that no wind farm has a cat-in-hell's chance of surviving 25 years (the theoretical figure that all the economics are based on)...
Gas-fired power stations, on the other hand, with reasonable maintenance (and the people are right there, on site, to do it) could reasonably last forty or fifty years...

Jan 30, 2013 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Jan 30, 2013 at 12:38 PM | HLx

Ah yes... Mongstad

When I was working in Norway in the 90s and 00s Mongstad was a by-word for waste, incompetence and worse. The refinery scheme was in the media regularly and not usually for good reasons (and I suspect it still is).

The Norwegian gummint has more cash than it knows what to do with - and Mongstad is the geographical location of one of the money pits for public funds that the politicians set up for the disposal of an embarrassment of riches via ill conceived, badly planned, poorly executed job creation schemes.

Cucumbers and sunbeams are in short supply that far north - like fresh vegetables.

Jan 30, 2013 at 1:20 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Carbon capture is right up there with perpetual motion in terms of likelihood of ever working. At least most informed people admit that perpetual motion is a silly con. The Earth is a giant carbon capture system, biologically, geologically and hydrologically. It will muddle through and so can we, as soon as we fire the kooks profiting off of AGW in politics, academia, media and industry.

Jan 30, 2013 at 1:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterlurker, passing through laughing

We are very unfortunate in Britain, in that, so many clowns now become politicians and most, if not all of them are of the Socialist persuasion, it matters very little which political party you join - the major policy direction is virtually unchanged and "hooray for that", as they say!

There are however, some slight differences between them, Labour and the liberal democrats wish to rush Britain back to the Stone Age sooner than their counterparts and distant cousins in the Tory party but it is a nuance, not a chasm.

Jan 30, 2013 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

David on Jan 30, 2013 at 1:13 PM

"Any fule kno (to quote the late great Ronald Searle) that no wind farm has a cat-in-hell's chance of surviving 25 years (the theoretical figure that all the economics are based on)..."

You mean that this might happen:

Wind turbine collapses in high wind
A controversial 115ft wind turbine has collapsed after being hit by heavy winds.

Well worth a read!

Jan 30, 2013 at 2:57 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Capell said:

So are they saying gas fired stations must fit CCS if built after 2020, but won't have to use it till 2045? Sounds mad. And do they realise gas-fired station only last about 25 years?

I don't think that is the case. Ignoring existing power stations, the present situation is that coal must have CCS after 2020 and gas must have it after 2045. The suggestion from Labour appears to be that gas should have the same CCS requirements as coal so that all new power stations should be using CCS after 2020.

What Labour *may* be thinking is that a new dash for gas would reduce wholesale energy prices too much, leading to the taxation of energy having to be stepped up even further to continue the pressure on reducing usage. Too large a tax and then it becomes obvious why our bills are high. If CCS was imposed on gas as well as coal in the near future it would serve to maintain high energy bills in a more subtle way.

Jan 30, 2013 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

Carbon capture = fuel poverty.
What are those idiots in the Labour party thinking?
Oh silly me, they don't think at all.

Jan 30, 2013 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

They could at least have used some imagination- proposed free fire extinguishers and sparklets all round. After all, everyone will be back to homebrew and homemade tallow candles by then.

Jan 30, 2013 at 9:06 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Aren't Carbon Capture and Nuclear Fusion always going to be a couple of decades away?

Jan 30, 2013 at 9:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS


"Are you suggesting that gas-fired power stations have the same lifespan as wind farms..?"

Yes. Well, perhaps 30 if you're lucky and they've negotiated a really super gas supply contract.

Jan 30, 2013 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

Don't forget this from 2011:

British ministers last week abandoned the [CCS scheme at Longannet]- which won a government funding competition initiated four years ago - because it would have cost too much. The government would not increase its £1 billion offer to pay the additional £562 million which industry collaborators Scottish Power and Shell wanted as contingency. The government says its money was still on offer for any alternative scheme.

The UK's abandonment of the Longannet project reflects a growing global trend. At an industry meeting on carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Beijing, China, last month, the Global CCS Institute, which monitors the nascent industry, said that five projects had been called off in the US and Europe in the past year.

Has anything changed since then?

Jan 31, 2013 at 1:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Both the Japanese and the Gernans have launched new coal fired power programmes even though that will breach their carbon reduction targets. None will have CCS. How the Germans can do it, in defiance of the EU, but we can't beats me. The rest of the world is currently going ahead with 1200 coal fired stations, none with CCS. We might be broke and heading for economic ruin but we can hold our heads up for doing the 'right' thing and being a world leader on carbon reduction (according to Cameron).

Jan 31, 2013 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpen

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