When does the UK climate fiasco budget run out? Not any time soon it seems, unless the Treasury squeezes out mad and/or bad ideas like unilateral CCS projects.
The UK government spent £100m on a competition to promote carbon capture and storage (CCS) schemes but it all fell apart. This was even after £68m had been spent on a previous competition for CCS, which it cancelled in 2011.
NAO’s report finds that the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s plan to use a second competition to develop and deploy carbon capture and storage was ambitious, but ultimately, unsuccessful when the Treasury pulled the rug away because of uncertainty over costs.
NAO head Amyas Morse said: “The Department has now tried twice to kick start CCS in the UK, but there are still no examples of the technology working. There are undoubtedly challenges in getting CCS established, but the Department faced an uphill battle as a result of the way it ran the latest competition.
“Not being clear with HM Treasury about what the budget is from the start would hamper any project, and caused particular problems in this case where the upfront costs are likely to be high. The Department must learn lessons from this experience if it is to stand any chance of ensuring the first CCS plants are built in the near future.”