Government plans £1bn per year for carbon capture technology

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The Government has announced a new plan to funnel around £1 billion a year into technology which can help capture carbon emissions before they are released into the atmosphere.

The Chancellor will next week set out what he promises to be a “clean energy reset” with extra money for carbon capture and new promises on nuclear power.

However in an announcement on Friday evening, the Treasury promised nothing new to help wind or solar developers.

Earlier this week, the Government’s official advisers in the Climate Change Committee forecast that around 70% of British electricity will come from solar and wind farms by 2035.

The Government will push £20 billion into the technology over the next 20 years, it said, a move it claimed could help create up to 50,000 jobs in the sector.

Part of the money will come from the Government, but part of it will also be funded through energy bills.

It hopes the projects that the money helps can capture and store 20-30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year by 2030.

For comparison, in 2021 total UK greenhouse gas emissions reached 505 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent – a measure that also counts methane and other greenhouse gases.

The Government also promised to “rapidly” announce the winners of a competition to build small nuclear power plants in the UK – so-called small modular reactors (SMRs).

It said it plans to “match a proportion of private investment,” without revealing any further details.

Mr Hunt said: “Without Government support, the average household energy bill would have hit almost £4,300 this year, which is why we stepped in to save a typical household £1,300 on their energy bills this winter.

“We don’t want to see high bills like this again, it’s time for a clean energy reset. That is why we are fully committing to nuclear power in the UK, backing a new generation of small modular reactors, and investing tens of billions in clean energy through carbon capture.

“This plan will help drive energy bills down for households across the country and improve our energy security whilst delivering on one of our five promises to grow the economy.”

“Already a global leader in offshore wind power, we now want to do the same for the UK’s nuclear and carbon capture industries, which in turn will help cut the wholesale electricity prices to amongst the lowest in Europe.

“Today’s funding will play an integral role in delivering that, helping us further towards our net zero targets and creating green jobs across the country.”

Tom Thackray, director for decarbonisation policy at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: “With the twin challenges of reaching net zero and reducing the UK’s exposure to volatile global energy markets, investment in domestic, cleaner energy projects will be pivotal.

“Carbon capture and nuclear power will not only reduce our carbon emissions but can help make the most of the significant economic opportunities that green growth can bring. Today’s announcement represents significant progress in realising our potential in technologies where the UK has distinctive strength.”

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